I thought adverbs didn't modify nouns but then what's going on in these sentences:
It is nearly two o'clock
We were there for nearly an hour
The town is nearly forty miles from here
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I'm not sure, but I think that "two o'clock" is a noun phrase, and in "nearly two o'clock" the "nearly" is an adverb modifying the determiner (Det) "two" within that noun phrase. The constituent structure is:
[NP [Det [Adv nearly] [Det two] ] o'clock ]
This analysis is a little tricky for your example "nearly an hour", since "nearly an" cannot stand alone, and you have to consider that "an" is a reduced form of "one". But at least that makes sense of the construction, because "nearly an hour" does mean that the quantity of hours was almost one, and the full form "nearly one hour" is an acceptable paraphrase.