Pretty (was Hella good Thanksgiving!)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Nov 28 14:50:57 UTC 1999

At 7:43 PM -0500 11/27/99, Stephanie Hysmith wrote:
>Pat wrote:
>>Among Southeners of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, "pretty" is used for
>>"very," but not for "very, very."   For "oikay," I've often heard, "so so"
>>and "fair to middling."
>I've always understood "pretty" to mean "sort of" or "leaning toward"
>rather than "very." Someone "pretty ugly" (always love this one) is more
>attractive than someone "really ugly." "Pretty good" is okay but not
>excellent. It's how someone would rate a dish that was reasonably
>palatable, but might not be ordered again.

same for me; and for additional evidence:

That was pretty good--in fact it was VERY good
#That was very good--in fact is was PRETTY good

Was it pretty good?
Not only was it pretty good:  it was VERY good.

Was it very good?
#Not only was it very good:  it was PRETTY good.


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