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  1. garymartincook
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    #1

    "Terribly" "Awfully"

    What is the origin or reason for using negative words like "Terribly" or "Awfully" along with superlatives?
    e.g. Terribly Nice

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    #2

    Re: "Terribly" "Awfully"

    I don't honestly know, but if you think of the true meaning of ' awe' then the use doesn't seem so illogical.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #3

    Re: "Terribly" "Awfully"

    Quote Originally Posted by garymartincook
    What is the origin or reason for using negative words like "Terribly" or "Awfully" along with superlatives?
    e.g. Terribly Nice
    In addition,

    It's called semantic extension.

    Both awe and terror refer to fear. Fear is an extreme emotion. It makes your heart beat faster. It's that semantic characterstic speakers extended to positive situations.

    Terribly and awfully express the positive side of the extreme. They mean, extremely, very.

  3. garymartincook
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    #4

    Re: "Terribly" "Awfully"

    Thank you

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    #5

    Re: "Terribly" "Awfully"

    Quote Originally Posted by garymartincook
    Thank you
    You're welcome.

    By the way, in linguistics it's called amelioration (to become better).

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