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    #1

    Complete rubbish?

    Recently there is a striking argument in Hong Kong about some words that a Hong Kong politician said.

    Politician said:"I think that is completely rubbish that we have violated civil rights, nor have we violated freedom of speech, because every single activity of the Vice-Premier has been covered by the media."

    Some people are arguing that there are grammatical mistakes.
    For example:"that is completely rubbish".
    They said he shouldn't use "completely" to describe "rubbish" because "completely"is a adverb.

    1. But could we use "completely" to describe "is"?
    Just like "That is absolutely rubbish or That is totally rubbish."

    2. Some people have suggest that he should use " That is complete rubbish","utter rubbish","sheer rubbish".
    Here i don't understand. Because "rubbish" in this phrase is describing words. Could i use an adjective to describe a describing words?

    3. Just like " It is absolutely beautiful" or "It is absolute beautiful", which one should be right?

    Thanks for your help, It is really bordering me.

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    #2

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    No teacher here, but surely rubbish is a noun here? In that case an adjective should precede it.

    You could have "... it's a completely rubbishy statement" (not sure if rubbishy is a real word, but it's used as an adjective and preceded by an adverb) or "... it's complete rubbish" (rubbish is a noun, preceded by an adjective).

    Or did I misunderstand you question completely?
    Last edited by GreyMan; 04-Sep-2011 at 09:37.

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    #3

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    "It is complete rubbish." <-Adjective(complete) + noun(rubbish)
    "It is completely rubbish." <-Adverb(completely) + verb(is)
    similarly
    "it's a completely rubbishy statement" <-Adverb(completely) + verb (is); Adjective(rubbishy) + noun(statement).

    Both of them are grammatically correct?

    So what you mean is i can use "completely" to describe "is" and "complete" to describe "rubbish"?

    Please correct me if there is any misunderstanding.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    He has caused what I would consider to be serious ambiguity in his statement. For me:

    "It is complete rubbish that we have violated civil rights..." = "We have not violated civil rights. The stories that are circulating saying that we have done so are not true (ie complete rubbish stories)."

    "It is completely rubbish that we have violated civil rights..." = We have violated civil rights and it is a terrible thing (a completely rubbish thing) that we have done."

    As you can see, for me, he is actually admitting that civil rights have been violated and is agreeing that that was a terrible thing to do.

    In BrE, perhaps not for everyone, saying that something was "complete rubbish" means that it was trash, deserves to be discarded -
    "That film was complete rubbish. Don't go and see it."

    "Completely rubbish" (in my circle of friends) is more about people's behaviour -
    "Oh, it's completely rubbish that John didn't pick Sarah up when he said he was going to. She missed the whole party because of that."

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    #5

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    I see.
    I understand now.
    Thanks a lot.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    I should point out though that I have no idea which of the two meanings he actually intended. I would guess the former (that the stories are rubbish and that no human rights were violated). I certainly wouldn't like to put words into the mouths of an international politician!

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    #7

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    I guess he means the statement is rubbish to say that we have violated civil right....

    Some people also comment that "rubbish" is not a word that a politician should use.

    What other words could he uses instead?

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    #8

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbiscuit View Post
    I guess he means the statement is rubbish to say that we have violated civil right....

    Some people also comment that "rubbish" is not a word that a politician should use.

    What other words could he uses instead?
    A politician can use any word he wants, in my opinion! If he were being more formal though, he could have said "The stories that are circulating claiming that we have violated human rights are completely untrue".

    Many politicians these days like to use more "street" talk as they think that it gives them a connection with "ordinary people".

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    #9

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    Thanks a lot.
    You are a really good teacher.
    I have learnt a lot from you.
    And also thank you Mr Greyman, your comment is very useful too.
    Thank you very much.

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    #10

    Re: Complete rubbish?

    Quote Originally Posted by dogbiscuit View Post
    Recently there is a striking argument in Hong Kong about some words that a Hong Kong politician said.

    Politician said:"I think that is completely rubbish that we have violated civil rights, nor have we violated freedom of speech, because every single activity of the Vice-Premier has been covered by the media."


    1. But could we use "completely" to describe "is"?
    Just like "That is absolutely rubbish or That is totally rubbish."
    This is, I believe, his meaning. It's an adverb modifying 'is'. "That is rubbish - completely!"
    It's grammatical. The only problem is that's it's not idiomatic in standard English. But there's no great sin in that.

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