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  1. #1
    sitifan is offline Senior Member
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    Default really halfway decent coffee

    When a native speaker of English says, "This is really halfway decent coffee," what does he mean? Does he mean that the coffee is better than expected?

  2. #2
    SlickVic9000's Avatar
    SlickVic9000 is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    (Not a Teacher)

    The speaker does seem to be surprised that the coffee is halfway decent, so I'd agree with your initial assessment. Still, the juxtaposition of 'really' and 'halfway decent' strikes my ears as a little odd.

  3. #3
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    When a native speaker of English says, "This is really halfway decent coffee," what does he mean? Does he mean that the coffee is better than expected?

    I think a native speaker is more likely to say: "This really is halfway decent coffee".

    I agree with you and SlickVic that it probably expresses mild surprise.

    not a teacher

  4. #4
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by JMurray View Post

    I agree with you and SlickVic that it probably expresses mild surprise.
    I agree, too.

    In addition, the expression is often used as an understatement for 'this really is excellent coffee'.

    Rover

  5. #5
    sitifan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by JMurray View Post
    When a native speaker of English says, "This is really halfway decent coffee," what does he mean? Does he mean that the coffee is better than expected?

    I think a native speaker is more likely to say: "This really is halfway decent coffee".

    not a teacher
    The sentence is quoted from Longman Advanced American Dictionary (page 652).

  6. #6
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    The sentence is quoted from Longman Advanced American Dictionary (page 652).
    You should have given that context ​in post #1, not #5.

  7. #7
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    [AmE - not a teacher]

    I was ready to agree with everyone so far saying that it's an understatement for stating the opposite, but on 2nd and 3rd reading, I'm ready to say I'm not quite sure. It seems too out of context to know for sure.

    If "really" can mean "actually" (expressing surprise), I'm not sure if the surprise is "halfway" (it's mediocre, I expected more) or "decent" (it's good, I expected terrible). I think this is what SlickVic9000 is commenting on, with "halfwayreally" and "halfway decent" sounding odd together.
    Last edited by BobSmith; 26-Apr-2012 at 16:59. Reason: fixed "really"

  8. #8
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    I don't think "halfway decent" sounds that odd together. It's a fancier version of "Hey, this isn't half bad!"

  9. #9
    BobSmith is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't think "halfway decent" sounds that odd together. It's a fancier version of "Hey, this isn't half bad!"

    I meant "really" and "halfway decent", as I was referring to what SlickVic said. I have fixed it.

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: really halfway decent coffee

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't think "halfway decent" sounds that odd together. It's a fancier version of "Hey, this isn't half bad!"
    Which always strikes me as odd when I hear Ameicans say it in praise of something. My BrE version is "This isn't half good!"

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