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    #1

    completely

    Hi,

    "I am totally/completely/absolutely exhausted."
    Are the words :totally,completely and absolutely fine to use here and are they the same meaning?
    Thank you.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: completely

    They're all fine, and very nearly equivalent. Some contexts would call for one or the other. One collocation that's very common (to express total exhaustion) is utterly exhausted.

    b

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    #3

    Re: completely

    Thank you for your comment, Bobk. But I think 'totally' and 'completely' are synonyms, is it possible that they can't be replaced with each other in some contexts? And does it depend what context we use to decide which word to use in the contexts?

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    #4

    Re: completely

    Quote Originally Posted by thru View Post
    Thank you for your comment, Bobk. But I think 'totally' and 'completely' are synonyms, is it possible that they can't be replaced with each other in some contexts?...
    They are synonyms in the sense that they are near equivalents whose meanings are interchangeable in most contexts and most registers. I don't believe that any two words are ever absolute equivalents. That doesn't mean that I can invariably say what the difference is - but just that native speakers know what they mean by choosing one word out of the many possibilities.

    Quote Originally Posted by thru View Post
    ...
    And does it depend what context we use to decide which word to use in the contexts?
    I'm afraid I don't understand this.

    b

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    #5

    Re: completely

    Hi Bobk,
    I am very sorry that you can't understand what I said because of my poor English. What I mean is that if the choice of adverb like 'completely,totally,absolutely, etc. depends on which type of adjective or verb we use?

    Thank you very much.

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    #6

    Re: completely

    The choice of adverb doesn't depend on which adjective or verb we use, but it can sometimes be influenced by our choice. For example, I would guess that there's a tendency to use 'completely above board', 'totally fair' and 'absolutely clear' rather than other possible combinations of adverb and adjective; the others aren't wrong - but the more you use the language the more you'll find that certain words commonly occur together (the popular word for it today is 'collocations').

    b
    PS
    Those three collocations are just my guess - I haven't researched them at all.
    Last edited by BobK; 28-Jan-2007 at 19:11.

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    #7

    Re: completely

    Here are some Google results. Google has its drawbacks as a language corpus, but the difference here seems big enough to be significant:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 348 for "absolutely above board"

    Results 1 - 10 of about 11,500 for "totally above board".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 16,900 for "completely above board".

    I haven't looked at the other two collocations; I have a lesson to prepare (and this is more fun, so I should stop! )

    b

    Incidentally, 'above board' means 'fair and done in such a way that everyone can see it's fair'.
    Last edited by BobK; 28-Jan-2007 at 18:57. Reason: PS added

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