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I am not really ready to get married.

Did I put "really" in the right place? I just want my sentence to sound stronger than "I am not ready to get married."

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

It is ambiguous.

The ambiguity comes from that fact that "really ready" is not the same thing as being plain "ready". So, if you are not "really ready" you might still be "ready".

Some alternatives:

I am really not ready to get married.

I am really unready to get married.

I'm not ready to get married at all.

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+1 for really not ready, it's the stronger form of "not ready". – Pierre Arlaud May 12 '14 at 13:44
"Not really" has a connotation of "well, kind of but not quite..." and "Really not..." has a connotation of "Actually, definitely not." – TecBrat May 12 '14 at 19:18

To give your sentence more emphasis, you should put it this way:

"I really am not ready to get married!"

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Yes; this, probably with really am not ready all stressed (or "I am really not ready to get married!") is the way to emphasise rather than downtone the statement. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 9:52

"Really" is an intensifier that you can place before "ready" or "not ready." Some might suggest restricting really for factual, real events. To my ears, "I am not ready to get married" sounds stronger than the slightly verbose and uncertain "I am not really ready to get married."

If you decide to write, "I am really not ready to get married," note that "really" now modifies the decisive "not ready," and the effect is strengthened, especially if you have a clue as to how it is being spoken, e.g., "Mom, I am really NOT ready to get married."

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I'd argue that 'not really' is not a pure negation of 'really', but must be considered as a single lexeme meaning 'the statement contains elements of truth, perhaps quite a few, but there are significant points where the actuality of the situation deviates from what the statement proclaims'. [Not {really ready}] is not the meaning. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 10:05

When reading 'really' it is ambiguous.

It can mean that you aren't anywhere close to being ready for marriage.

It can mean that you are wavering a bit.

This would be for people to guess while listening to you. I am sure with context they would get the point.

As I have said many times in my life, "I have no intention of getting married."

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You put really in the right place, but when it is preceded by not, it weakens rather than strengthens the speaker's intent. If you say

"I am ready to get married"


"I am not ready to get married",

each one is an unambiguous statement of your readiness (or the lack of it, in the second case). If you say

"I am not really ready to get married",

the implication is that you are experiencing considerable doubts, misgivings or practical obstacles.

Conversely, when you use ready in a positive statement, it does have a strengthening effect:

"I am really ready to get married!"

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Yes, in really ready, 'really' is probably exerting pragmatic influence ("I am ready to get married! Really!") only, as you can't be 'really ready', just 'ready' (or not). I suppose that, by analogy with the common use of 'very full' to mean 'very nearly full', one could argue that 'really ready' means 'ready in every way'. I wouldn't. – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 10:12
You could say 'I am really not ready...' to emphasise rather than weaken. – JamesRyan May 12 '14 at 10:53
@JamesRyan Are you repeating my earlier comment (above) for emphasis? – Edwin Ashworth May 12 '14 at 11:12
your comment didn't actually mention 'really not'. It may have been what you meant, but really not what you said. :) – JamesRyan May 12 '14 at 11:32
@JamesRyan - Ha! Quite right -- well spotted! :-) – Erik Kowal May 12 '14 at 12:41

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