Manipulating optical signals below the diffraction limit is crucial for next-generation data-storage and telecommunication technologies. Although controlling the flow of light around nanoscale waveguides was achieved over a decade ago, modulating optical signals at terahertz frequencies within nanoscale volumes remains a challenge. Since the physics underlying any modulator relies on changes in dielectric properties, the incorporation of strongly electron-correlated materials (SECMs) has been proposed because they can exhibit orders of magnitude changes in electrical and optical properties with modest thermal, electrical or optical trigger signals. Here we demonstrate a hybrid nanomodulator of deep sub-wavelength dimensions with an active volume of only 0.002 μm3 by spatially confining light on the nanometre length scale using a plasmonic nanostructure while simultaneously controlling the reactive near-field environment at its optical focus with a single, precisely positioned SECM nanostructure. Since the nanomodulator functionality hinges on this near-field electromagnetic interaction, the modulation is also selectively responsive to polarization. This architecture suggests one path for designing reconfigurable optoelectronic building blocks with responses that can be tailored with exquisite precision by varying size, geometry, and the intrinsic materials properties of the hybrid elements.