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    "very tired" / "extremely tired" adverbs of degree


    "very tired" / "extremely tired" adverbs of degree

    Hello, could anyone please come up with a rule as when it is possible to use either "very" or an intensifier such as "extremely", "absolutely", etc.
    I think it is not possible to say "absolutely tired" but only "absolutely tired out" or "absolutely exhausted". Why?
    Can you, on the other hand, say "very exhausted"?
    Thanks for help!
    AuthorKurtchen7311 Dec 09, 14:40
    very - sehr
    extremely - äusserst
    absolutely - auf jeden Fall, zweifellos (z.B.)

    Man kann schon sagen: I am absolutely tired:
    #1Authordude (253248) 11 Dec 09, 15:17
    The boundaries are somewhat fuzzy and overlapping, so there's probably no hard and fast rule, but I think this is a question of gradability which applies to the sense of the word, rather than the word itself.

    Some adjectives are non-gradable, e.g. annual, medical. Comparatives and adverbs of degree are not normally appropriate.

    "Typical" adjectives are gradable: they express a quality that can be possessed in varying degrees; they can usually be modified by adverbs like "very" or "extremely", e.g. high, large, tired. Even these adjectives can often be treated as "binary" and can be negated, when there is an implied binary division of the scale in context, e.g. "not long", unclean, not tired.

    And some adjectives are usually classified as "absolute" but have some characteristics of gradable adjectives: they may, for instance, be used to express an extreme condition and be gradable in the extreme, permitting adverbs like "absolutely", e.g. exhausted, dead, equal, essential, unique.

    Other adjectives, like colours, may reflect the sub-division of a scale or scales (electromagnetic frequency, intensity), where the degree of approximation to an "ideal" may permit some gradability, e.g. "greener".

    [Some ideas and examples from CGEL but the errors are mine]
    #2AuthorMikeE (236602) 12 Dec 09, 10:27
    Have a look at the first example on the link in #1, which explains why "absolutely tired" sounds wrong :-)

    Also see no. 7 here:
    #3AuthorCM2DD (236324) 12 Dec 09, 11:56
    Nur eine kleine musikalische Anmerkung:
    Der sehr wunderbare Bluesmann Snooky Pryor sagt es so:
    too tired to sleep.
    #4Authordr. dark, der hippiepunk14 Dec 09, 18:09
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