the precisely Adj N

Randy Alexander strangeguitars at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 28 05:47:17 UTC 2009

On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 2:47 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
>>>Just saw this in a NYT article:
>>>"By the time the children go to bed, I am as drained as any mother who
>>>has spent her day working, car pooling, building Lego castles and
>>>shopping for the precisely correct soccer cleat."
>>>(Quoted sentence is on the second page.)
>>>I would have to change that to "precisely the correct soccer cleat".
>>What am I missing here? Â "the precisely correct soccer cleat" sounds
>>okay to me (aside from being a rather startling idea).
> You're missing othing, I think, Alison. Â "The precisely correct
> soccer cleat" is the one that fits perfectly. Â Think Industrial
> Revolution and interchangeable parts.

Maybe it's just me then.  It's certainly less common though.

Raw Google:
"precisely the" 6,600k
"the precisely" 130k

precisely the [j*] 284
the precisely [j*] 10

I still think that something like "that's precisely the right answer"
is OK, but "that's the precisely right answer" is weird, if not

Randy Alexander
Jilin City, China
My Manchu studies blog:

The American Dialect Society -

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