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One student was describing his advisor as 'annoyingly good'.

I was wondering what that means, and is it rude to say or write it on your homepage?

I'm guessing it might mean he's the 'tough love' kind of advisors, or maybe he's 'annoyingly good' because he's much better than him. But that's my guess and would like to make sure.

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I think it is just what it says. Ever heard 'too much of a good thing'? The advisor is overdoing his being good, to the point of being annoying. –  Kris Feb 9 '12 at 8:13
    
If we take it as Kris, then, personally, I do not understand how somebody could be too good, too. But it is not the English question, it is the moral question. –  Gangnus Feb 9 '12 at 9:44
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3 Answers 3

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'Annoyingly good' and 'hell of an adviser' and ect... means all the same that he is too good in his job. This expressions are suitable for spoken English, not written one. Annoyingly comes here because your fellow student can't find something more to add that he haven't done. He has been immaculate.

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When you write ect it hurts my eyes. –  GEdgar Feb 9 '12 at 13:45
    
@GEdgar If you prove that 0.(9) equals 1 in 3 lines using only addition, subtraction, multiplications and division I won't ever do it. –  speedyGonzales Feb 9 '12 at 14:12
    
@GEdgar: And you have to do it faster than speedyGonzales can say "limit of a geometric series"! –  Hexagon Tiling Feb 10 '12 at 21:57
    
10*0.(9)=9+ 0.(9) ->9*0.(9)=9 -> 0.(9)=1 @Hexagon Tiling can you say I lack my 5th grade knowledge. GEdgar -Teacher's should learn not to teach in real life. –  speedyGonzales May 3 '12 at 13:46
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If you say that someone is 'annoyingly good' at something, you are really complimenting them and saying that they are REALLY good at that particular thing. You might say that the person is 'so good it's almost annoying'. It sort of means that they're so good you cannot argue about it, even if you wanted to because they're your advisor.

Maybe you are competing in a game with a sibling who keeps winning, then you might say that they're 'annoyingly good'.

It is similar to saying, 'I hate to admit it but god they're good!'

I agree with the previous answer that you wouldn't use this in formal, written English but if it's written online in a casual, informal context that's fine.

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I agree with Rachel This is really a compliment. We often use negative intensifiers with positive meaning like this - 'What an insanely good idea!' 'She's ridiculously slim.' 'He's hideously rich.' etc. There's a short discussion about it at - changingminds.org/techniques/language/persuasive/… –  RandomIdeaEnglish Feb 9 '12 at 22:11
    
I agree that it is USUALLY a backhanded compliment, but not NECESSARILY so. If you will imagine that you have been searching for hours for a bug in your code and a rival, whom you would rather not hear from, walks past your desk, glances over your shoulder, and instantly spots the bug and announces it to you, and to everyone else in the office, you will grasp what I am getting at. –  Hexagon Tiling Feb 10 '12 at 22:04
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Of the alternatives mentioned in the question, the 'tough love' idea does not sound particularly plausible to me. If the student's advisor is "much better than him", then the student saying annoyingly good could arise as a result of envy, or from a sense of inferiority, or because of feeling inadequate to meet high standards.

Another alternative is that the advisor is something of a know-it-all, and often is ostentatious about being right. Or advisor and student might both be excellent for their roles, but with misperceptions occurring on the student's part; or the advisor might be perfectly ordinary, and the student lazy; or any of a number of other cases might apply, which the given information does not disambiguate.

There is no sense of rudeness in the phrase annoyingly good, but as described it's ambiguous and unclear and it seems unlikely anyone would benefit if the phrase were to appear in a webpage.

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