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There is an advertisement I see constantly that promotes convenience shopping at a particular store as 'wonderfully easier'. This doesn't sound grammatical to me. To me, the correct phrase should be 'wonderfully easy'. I'm aware that it is grammatical to say 'considerably easier' but to me 'wonderfully easier' just doesn't sound right. Would anyone like to comment?

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  • I can only think of semantically void/bleached secondary modifiers, that is prototypical intensifiers and downtoners, (much easier, far better, considerably worse, slightly faster, much less intense, ...) being used before comparative adjectives. Oct 6 '21 at 14:51
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"easy" is an absolute term, while "easier" is a comparative.

Shopping at most convenience stores is easy (that's why they're "convenient"), so the advertisement is claiming that shopping at their store is more easy than shopping at the competitors.

Adding the "wonderfully" adverb is hyperbole intended to intensify this. Taken literally, it means that it's wonderful how much easier it is.

There's nothing ungrammatical about this. "Easier" is an adjective, and you can generally use adverbs like "wonderfully" to modify an adjective.

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While the phrase is unusual, I can't see what would be ungrammatical about it. As you say, "considerably easier" sounds perfectly natural, yet "considerable" and "wonderful" are both adjectives, and in both examples they're changed to adverbs with the -ly ending and then used to modify a comparative adjective. Semantically, we could argue the idea is strange, but that's different from not being grammatical (famously, Chomsky illustrated this distinction with the sentence "colorless, green ideas sleep furiously," a sentence that is perfectly grammatical and yet hard to derive any kind of meaning from).

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    I agree that it is an unusual phrase, but it could mean that shopping at that store is (wonderfully) easier than shopping at other stores. In any case, as you've said, grammatically correct and semantically correct are two different things.
    – nnnnnn
    Oct 6 '21 at 3:45
  • I'm not sure that the statement that "considerable" and "wonderful" are both adjectives really illuminates an answer to a question about the use of wonderfully which is usually an adverb. As is considerably. Oct 6 '21 at 5:41
  • @HighPerformanceMark Both may be changed to adverbs by applying the standard English pattern for changing an adjective into an adverb. I could have spelled it out more but I think the point is intelligible.
    – Casey
    Oct 6 '21 at 5:53
  • @nnnnnn Yes, it wouldn't be a phrase then. 'Wonderfully, shopping at that store is easier than shopping at the other stores, all of which have thrown up problems." // As a degree/secondary modifier, 'wonderfully' is used on occasion, but mainly with positive-form adjectives (wonderfully kind / clear / helpful / picturesque) and the occasional positive-form adverb (well) (all usually flowery in register). Oct 6 '21 at 14:48
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    @EdwinAshworth “Oh, it’s easier, but not wonderfully easier” seems plausible.
    – Casey
    Oct 6 '21 at 17:31

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