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You see a car in the ditch, abandoned after a collision. The car appears to be damaged. You don't know how damaged it is, though.

Would you drive that ____ly damaged car?

In other words, would you drive that car which is damaged to some unknown degree? It might be irreparably damaged, or it might be superficially damaged, but you are leery because you don't know enough about cars to tell.

Another example. You said something really mean to James. James appeared to be hurt.

My comment left James ___ly hurt.

He might be deeply hurt, or just temporarily hurt; you can't tell because he tends to hide his feelings.

It doesn't have to be a -ly word but I am looking for some kind of word or short phrase to put in the blank. Also, my bad if that's not technically an adverb--I'll edit the title if I'm using the wrong term for that.

The closest I've come is "ambiguously" but it just doesn't have the range or emotional care I want to express. It sounds like I don't care how bad it is, but I do care, and it kind of scares me that I do not know.

Does this word exist or do I just need to reword?

  • For your second example, I'm thinking "rather," or "somewhat." I think it gives the sense that you care, but I don't think such words apply to the first example perfectly. – N.R. in Seoul Oct 26 '16 at 1:49
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How about indefinitely?

Dictionary.com:

indefinite: not clearly defined or determined; not precise or exact

Your examples:

Would you drive that indefinitely damaged car?

My comment left James indefinitely hurt.

  • Also the first definition to that word is "without fixed or specified limit", which I know wasn't part of my question, but it gives it that bonus mysterious/scary air that I'm looking for. This is the word I'm choosing, though I think indeterminately is a really excellent answer too! Thank you all so much! – Nagisa Oct 26 '16 at 2:36
  • @Nagisa I agree that indeterminately was an excellent answer. – Richard Kayser Oct 26 '16 at 2:52
  • I don't know a single native speaker who would use indefinitely in either sentence. Or indeterminately. – Alan Carmack Nov 10 '16 at 19:59
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Consider indeterminately, which means

not determinate; not precisely fixed in extent; indefinite; uncertain

It works perfectly in both of your contexts:

  1. Would you drive that indeterminately damaged car?

  2. My comment left James indeterminately hurt.

  • Related-- someone off site suggested indeterminably but thought it was too unnatural. I don't have the best gauge for unnatural language, but I think these are both great and fitting. – Nagisa Oct 27 '16 at 8:43
  • Who speaks that way? – Alan Carmack Nov 10 '16 at 20:01
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There is also a possibility that no damage was done to the car and that James wasn't hurt! Consider using most likely to cover that as well.

Would you drive that most likely damaged car? My comment most likely left James hurt.

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To fit the examples would need something like "somewhat".

“Would you drive that somewhat damaged car?” or “My comment left James somewhat hurt.”

I’m sorry to point out that indefinite almost always refers to time, although of course I can’t show examples of what people rarely say, if ever. Partly, that’s why “deeply” and “temporarily” hurt are not comparable.

The car will be in the workshop indefinitely is very different from the examples.

Indeterminate might be better but only just and still, rarely.

The car being indeterminately damaged would not be at all the same thing as the car suffering or having suffered indeterminate damage.

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possibly or apparently seem obviously better than all the other suggestions. They have slightly different meanings—apparently means that the appearance or other evidence suggests it is damaged (or whatever), whereas possibly simply means there is a chance that it is damaged, etc.

Would you drive that possibly damaged car?

Would you drive that apparently damaged car?

There could be an argument that there should be a hyphen, possibly-damaged.

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