There are so many different ways to mix and match adverbs in the English language since you can use them before an adjective, after a verb, or in other exceptional contexts. But what about the phrase “absolutely good”? Is that correct to say?
It is correct to say “absolutely good” because “absolutely” is an adverb meaning completely or totally, and “Good” is an adjective meaning of high quality. However, “absolutely good” is best for informal or conversational situations since weak adjectives like “good” don’t match well with extreme intensifiers like “absolutely.”
Let’s take a look at the grammar behind “absolutely good,” and then we’ll explore the best ways to use the phrase in informal situations.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Absolutely Good”?
Even though it’s not a very popular construct in English, “absolutely good” is technically grammatically correct. This is because adverbs can modify adjectives or verbs. In this case, the adverb “absolutely” modifies the adjective “good” to express the high degree to which something is good.
When we use an adjective to modify or explain an adjective, the adverb comes before the adjective. That’s why we say “absolutely good” or “perfectly wonderful.” In both of those examples, the adverbs come before the adjectives.
On the other hand, when we use an adverb to modify or explain a verb, the adverb usually comes after the verb. For example, we can say, “I agree absolutely.” Here, the adverb “absolutely” modifies the verb “to agree,” so it should come after the verb.
How Do You Use “Absolutely Good”?
We typically use “absolutely good” in a broader context and in a full sentence, as in “That slice of pie was absolutely good!” Here, the speaker uses the adverb “absolutely good” to express the high degree to which the pie was satisfactory.
In this example, “good” is a predicate adjective because it describes the subject of the sentence, “that slice of pie.” The adverb “absolutely” modifies the predicate adjective “good.”
In other words, the word “good” answers the question, “How was the pie?” And the adverb “absolutely” answers the question, “How good was the pie?” As you can see, adverbs typically modify other adverbs or adjectives by answering this question of degree.
What Does “Absolutely Good” Mean?
When we say “absolutely good,” we emphasize how good or high quality we believe something is. That’s because the adverb “absolutely” means entirely or totally (source), and the adjective “good” means satisfactory or pleasant (source).
So, when we take the adverb and adjective together, the phrase allows us to express that something was enjoyable or interesting to a very high degree. “Absolutely good” is a way to express a totally positive judgment of something.
When Can You Use “Absolutely Good”?
You can use “absolutely good” for informal contexts and usually only in speaking. We usually don’t write the phrase “absolutely good,” although it is an effective way to express a favorable judgment of something informally.
On its own, “good” is not a particularly strong adjective, so the adverb “absolutely” can do much of the necessary work in modifying it. Typically, we would pair the adverb “absolutely” with much stronger adjectives like “wonderful” or “brilliant,” sending a clearer message to the reader or listener.
So, while “absolutely good” is a great starting point, you can also try adding some more powerful adjectives. This will improve the quality of your communication, and it will give your reader or listener a clearer idea of your feelings and judgments.
In fact, the adverb “absolutely” has broad applicability, and it is handy in understanding the proper use of adverbs, as we explained in our article “Is It Correct to Say ‘Absolutely True’?”
In What Context Can You Use “Absolutely Good”?
The phrase “absolutely good” is perfect for situations where you are trying to express an informal and positive opinion. For example, when you compliment somebody’s cooking or express your thoughts on your favorite novel or movie, “absolutely good” is perfectly appropriate.
Typically, we would include “absolutely good” in a larger sentence rather than have it stand on its own. Plus, we usually use “absolutely good” in informal or speaking contexts rather than in formal or written communication.
In other words, the phrase is great to use in informal conversations when people are sharing their opinions on the quality or state of various things. Remember, “absolutely good” means that you have only positive things to say about the quality or state of something.
Using “Absolutely Good” in a Full Sentence
In almost all cases, we use “absolutely good” in the context of a full sentence. Often, the main verb of that sentence is “to be,” and we can see the phrase “absolutely good” with the verb “to be” in all of the different verb tenses.
When we see the phrase “absolutely good” in a complete sentence, the word “absolutely” is an intensifier. This means that it shows how much, how intense, or how extreme the adjective “good” is (source).
Intensifiers are adverbs that make adjectives stronger. The most common intensifier is “very.” However, using stronger intensifiers like “absolutely” make your meaning much clearer for your reader or listener.
For instance, if you say, “The movie was absolutely good,” then you’re expressing an intense or extreme level of goodness — the movie wasn’t just very good, it was absolutely good. Here, you convey that the movie has a high degree of goodness and that it was of very high quality in a total or complete sense.
When Not to Use “Absolutely Good”
As a general rule of thumb, you shouldn’t use “absolutely good” in formal written communication. While the phrase sounds fine when you say it in an informal setting, it’s not a good choice of words for a work email or school assignment.
What Can You Use Instead of “Absolutely Good”?
For example, you can use adjectives like “great,” “amazing,” “wonderful,” and “delicious” with “absolutely” to express your opinion on a work of art, an experience, or a meal. These adjectives have a stronger connotation or a more specific meaning that makes your message a lot clearer.
In general, many people overuse the adjective “good,” and it is not very strong. Instead, you should try to use more specific adjectives to describe positive feelings or judgments of something.
As for the adverb “absolutely,” it doesn’t always fit with the adjective “good.” As an intensifier, “absolutely” often requires an adjective expressing an extreme quality, so the adjective “good” usually doesn’t cut it. However, stronger adjectives like “wonderful” or “delicious” accomplish this.
If you are using the adjective “good,” more common and less extreme intensifiers like “really,” “very,” or “quite” will suffice.
Adverbs With Different Functions
Adverbs are words that modify or explain adjectives and/or verbs. We can use adverbs to give more details about a description or an action, especially in terms of degree, manner, frequency, place, or time.
For most regular adverbs in English, you can construct them by adding the suffix -ly after the adjective form of the word. For example, the adjective “quick” becomes the adverb “quickly,” and the adjective “slow” becomes the adverb “slowly.”
Adverbs of Degree
An adverb of degree answers the question “How much did the [subject] [verb]?” or “How [adjective] is the [noun]?” In fact, “absolutely” is an adverb of degree. Adverbs of degree express the extent to which a subject possesses a particular quality or exists under a certain condition. Here are some more popular adverbs of degree:
- This bird is extremely rare in the wild, so we are very lucky to see it today.
- I absolutely loved this novel! The characters are totally relatable.
- James dropped his phone in the pool, and it was submerged completely.
- We have just enough fuel to get home and scarcely enough time.
Adverbs of Manner
An adverb of manner answers the question “How did [subject] [verb]?” or “How did [noun] become [adjective]?” Have a look at these examples with adverbs of manner:
- I completed the task slowly, but my classmate finished very quickly.
- Please read the instructions carefully before you start the project.
- The baby is sleeping soundly, but we should still walk quietly in the hallway.
- If you answer all of these questions correctly, you can win a huge prize!
Adverbs of Frequency
An adverb of frequency answers the question “How often does [subject] [verb]?” or “How often is [subject] [adjective]?” These are some popular adverbs of frequency:
- Your birthday is always on the same date each year.
- I never drive to work because I don’t have a driver’s license.
- Sally sometimes rides the bus, but she prefers to walk to school.
- Mark has often seen colorful birds in this forest.
- We rarely eat out because our mom is a very good cook.
- Even though Tom is usually happy, he seems sad today.
Adverbs of Place
An adverb of place answers the question “Where, towards where, or to where did [subject] [verb]?” or “Where, towards where, or to where is [subject] [adjective]?” Often, we use a prepositional phrase to express an adverb of place. Here are a few examples:
- The children wandered around for a while and then went inside.
- The children walked around the park, and then they went inside the library.
- Should we set up the tent here, or should we look for another spot elsewhere?
- Do we need to travel very far to get there?
Adverbs of Time
An adverb of time answers the question “When or in which circumstances did [subject] [verb]?” or “When or in which circumstances is [subject] [adjective]?” We can use a time clause or a prepositional phrase to describe these actions, as well. Check out these examples:
- Have you already eaten lunch? Yes, I ate before I left the house.
- She wakes up early every day, even on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
- By the time Henry finished high school, he had been working for six months.
- Nina has been studying since 6 a.m. I hope she will take a break soon!
Using Intensifiers With Adjectives
Intensifiers are a special type of adverb. They are similar to adverbs of degree, but we only call them intensifiers if they’re modifying an adjective. We use them to strengthen an adjective or show emphasis (source).
Here are some examples with common intensifiers:
- I was very happy to hear the news of your engagement.
- She was absolutely thrilled when she saw the final score.
- My son is extremely scared of the dark.
- This TV series is totally accurate; it really tells a true story.
- A celebrity chef highly recommended the restaurant in our neighborhood.
- The prices at this designer boutique are insanely high!
- This blouse is so cheap that I might buy two more of them for my sisters.
You’ll notice that each intensifier comes right before the adjective that it modifies. You can also see that the most popular verb to use with an intensifier plus adjective is the verb “to be.”
In most cases, the intensifier and the adjective match intensity. This means you don’t usually use a weak adjective like “good” with a more extreme intensifier like “absolutely.” This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
Instead, you can pair “good” with something less extreme like “very.” And you can use an intensifier like “insanely” with a stronger adjective such as “awesome.” This makes your English word choice sound more natural and native-like.
“Absolutely good” is technically a grammatically correct phrase in English, and we usually use it within the context of a complete sentence. Still, the phrase works best in informal situations with friends and family.
The phrase “absolutely good” allows you to express that something is totally or completely acceptable or enjoyable. In those informal situations, “absolutely” may function well as a way to really add emphasis and draw attention to how good you thought something was.
However, the adverb “absolutely” usually modifies stronger adjectives like “wonderful” or “delicious.” In other instances, it might be best to use “good” with “very” or “really.” Overall, it’s best to avoid using “absolutely good” in formal or written communication.