Is it grammatically correct to say:

The day started off incredibly terribly.

My reasoning is that it is, since this is correct:

The day started off terribly.

The manner in which the day started off was terrible - it started off terribly. Then "incredibly" modifies "terribly".

However, it sounds a bit weird, so I'm not sure.

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    Funny one! I think ... it's just a "hard line to read", "Started incredibly badly.." is common. So "incredibly terribly", yeah. – Fattie Sep 19 '14 at 14:34
  • I think part of what makes it sound weird is that "terribly" can also mean "incredibly" – Claudiu Sep 19 '14 at 16:55
  • You know, I'd say you're OK on that front, Claudiu. People are completely used to disambiguating "that" terribly. – Fattie Sep 19 '14 at 16:56
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    That 'in' prefix is not needed: "The day started off credibly terrible." – Wayfaring Stranger Sep 19 '14 at 17:54
  • @WayfaringStranger: It really was quite credible how bad the day was. Nothing unbelievable about it at all. – Claudiu Sep 19 '14 at 18:24

It's grammatically correct, but inadvisable. It is easier on the reader to state "It started off as an incredibly terrible day.

But did it? Really? An incredibly terrible day usually starts out with something that is terrible, and builds as additional terrible events occur. If there was a single event that made it all that terrible, I'd refer to it as a catastrophic day.

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  • But that's not what the sentence is referring to: the sentence is referring to, only, the "start of the day". Nothing else. – Fattie Sep 19 '14 at 16:58
  • Further, the question is simply "can you modify 'terribly' with X". I believe the particular use case (regarding "start of the day") was just an example. – Fattie Sep 19 '14 at 16:59

People often avoid repetition. IncredIBLY, terrIBLY, two vowels of the same contour (sound shape). It's a bit like I'm gonna go ask -- I'm gonna ask is more frequent. :)

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While it is grammatically correct, adverb chaining like that doesn't roll of the tongue very nicely, and you might ask yourself if just using terribly is sufficient. Terrible is pretty bad, right? The statement begs the question, "How bad was it?" , so it's likely that it will be followed by a story about why the morning was so awful. Unless it describes horrific carnage and mayhem, you might find that just using 'terribly' would have been sufficient.

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