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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Czech
      • Home Country:
      • Czech Republic
      • Current Location:
      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: May 2015
    • Posts: 134
    #1

    Is "the absolutely best" incorrect?

    Hello all.

    I donīt remember the context but in Ireland I was told by native speaker that the following "sentence" is not correct:


    ....the absolutely best.....


    However two English teachers didnīt find almost the similar sentence wrong:



    It was incredibly good performance.



    Why do you think the first "sentence" is not correct? Is it possible that it just didnīt sound good in the given context I was speaking about?



    Thank you.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 9,337
    #2

    Re: Is "the absolutely best" incorrect?

    The difference is that in the first phrase, an adverb modifies a superlative. You can modify a plain adjective as in an incredibly good performance, but superlatives are "pre-modified": best means "most good" (though we don't use that pair of words) and can't normally be further modified.
    I am not a teacher.

  1. Tarheel's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jun 2014
    • Posts: 11,085
    #3

    Re: Is "the absolutely best" incorrect?

    While it is certainly true that there is nothing better than best, you will see phrases like "absolutely the best". Or "unquestionably the best".

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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      • English
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      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,597
    #4

    Re: Is "the absolutely best" incorrect?

    "The absolutely best" is not a sentence.

    "The absolute best" is also not a sentence.

    We usually don't say "the absolutely best."

    Instead, we usually say "the absolute best" or "absolutely the best." They both mean "the best" but are more emphatic.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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