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I have noticed that most of the time it is the case in usage, but I'm not sure if it is a rule or not. I. e. would it be right to say "utterly wonderful" or does it sound oxymoronic? Thanks

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3 Answers 3

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It's utterly normal to have 'utterly' followed by a positive adjective. 'Utterly' just means totally or completely.

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  • Who says you can't say "completely wonderful"? Or "utterly wonderful", for that matter? Aug 8, 2013 at 17:29
  • Utterly amazing!
    – bib
    Aug 8, 2013 at 19:35
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I think it is contradictory, maybe not technically, but in usage. It isn't usually used in positive ways. Utterly wonderful doesn't sound good like utterly miserable or utterly devastating.

Absolutely wonderful works better than utterly wonderful. Utter just has a negative, tragic ring to it.

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While it is acceptable to have a positive adjective following "utterly", I would say it's strange. I don't think I've ever heard it used in with a positive connotation.

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  • Really? I don’t find utterly cool to be at all strange. It even borders on being commonplace. Down that road lies also utterly awesome, usually with dude hanging out nearby. :)
    – tchrist
    Aug 8, 2013 at 17:34
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    I have never heard anyone use the term utterly cool. Maybe it's a regional thing, but it's certainly not a thing in the Pacific Northwest.
    – Jacobm001
    Aug 8, 2013 at 17:39

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