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  1. moonlike's Avatar
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    #1

    "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    Hi
    Could you kindly tell me which one is grammatical? Are both OK? Are both natural to you?
    Thanks a lot.

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    Quote Originally Posted by moonlike View Post
    Hi
    Could you kindly tell me which one is grammatical? Are both OK? Are both natural to you?
    Thanks a lot.
    They are both possible in the proper context.

    "Udaipur is a really big city." "Is it really a big city?" "I thought Jaipur was bigger."

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    ... in the proper context.
    How many times a day does one of us say that, or something similar?

    I thought, when I wrote them, that the first words of my signature, below, might help. Hope springs eternal ...
    Last edited by 5jj; 10-May-2012 at 22:24. Reason: typo

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    #4

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, moonlike:


    Since "really" is my favorite word, may I comment on bhaisahab's two excellent examples?

    1. New York is a really big city. = New York is a very big city.

    2. Is New York really a big city? = Tell me the truth, is New York a big city?

    I love that word. Really! ( = Believe me)

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    I thought it would be a small town. I was suprised when I got there to find it's really a big city.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    I wonder if there could be any sense in saying that
    in '* is a really big city' 'really' modifies 'big', whereas
    in '* really is a big city' 'really' relates to 'is'?

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    #7

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    One expert named Professor Quirk says that a sentence such as "It really is a big city" and "It is really a big city"

    have the same meaning, "provided the appropriate intonation pattern is given." (page 451 of his 1985 masterpiece)

    Therefore, he says, "really" does not modify only "a big city." But -- sadly -- he does not tell us what it DOES modify.

    I agree with you: many people would say that "really" modifies "is." On the other hand, I think that there may be some

    people who disagree. I hope that others will respond. Really!

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    I find the word order of "It is really a big city" somewhat unnatural for most circumstances. I would only use it if I was giving a different or opposing view to something previously stated.

    - Hamburg is a small town.
    - I disagree. It's a city. In fact, it's really a big city when you think about it!

    - My coat is blue.
    - It doesn't look blue to me. It looks dark grey. In fact, I think it's really black."

    In the two examples above, "really" is the equivalent of "actually".


    - Hamburg is a big city.
    - Is it? I thought it was just a large town.
    - No, I checked online and I asked some inhabitants. It really is a big city!

    In the example above, "really" is used for emphasis as if to say "No, I know what I'm talking about. I said it was a big city and I'm right. It genuinely, truthfully is a big a city. Believe me!"

    It is a really big city = "really" modifies big, and means "It's a very big city". That's the easy one to explain!

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    #9

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I find the word order of "It is really a big city" somewhat unnatural for most circumstances. I would only use it if I was giving a different or opposing view to something previously stated.

    - Hamburg is a small town.
    - I disagree. It's a city
    . In fact, it's really a big city when you think about it!
    - My coat is blue.
    - It doesn't look blue to me. It looks dark grey.
    In fact, I think it's really black."

    In the two examples above, "really" is the equivalent of
    "actually".


    - Hamburg is a big city.
    - Is it? I thought it was just a large town.
    - No, I checked online and I asked some inhabitants.
    It really is a big city!
    In the example above, "really" is used for emphasis as if to say "No, I know what I'm talking about. I said it was a big city and I'm right. It genuinely, truthfully is a big a city. Believe me!"
    since it's more about emotions, what about the intonation then? Should 'is' be stressed?

    It is a really big city = "really" modifies big, and means "It's a very big city". That's the easy one to explain!
    Thanks

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: "a really big city" or "really a big city"?

    As far as stress goes, I would use "It's REALLY a big city", "It really IS a big city!", "It's a REALLY big city".

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