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Am I correct in thinking that 'right proper' is a phrase used adjectivally, as in 'A Right Proper Murder', and 'right and proper' adverbially, as in the entries in Urban Dictionary?

right and proper

  1. Used in conjunction with a declaration of action.

  2. An emphasis added to a statement in place of completely, utterly, totally, etc.

  1. A phrase added to a statement to imply justification for an action.

1. If you don't put that down, I'm going to beat you right and proper.

2. "I'm completely screwed" becomes "I'm screwed right and proper."

3. "We'll arrest him right and proper."

by Mike January 12, 2004.

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  • It seems surprisingly difficult to find info. about right and proper online, but Word Hippo regards it as an adjectival phrase. Oct 1 at 12:16
  • And yet this isn't how it's used in the examples given. I'm wondering whether the informal use is a contraction of a longer phrases such as 'right, proper, and fitting'. Oct 1 at 12:20
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    It needs to be noted that, in "right proper", "right" is essentially an adjective emphasizing "proper". Whereas in "right and proper" the two words are essentially independent of each other.
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 1 at 12:38
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    Please never post pictures of text. Please replace your picture of text with actual text.
    – tchrist
    Oct 1 at 14:17
  • 1
    @LeonConrad Because it creates accessibility problems for our site. Text hidden in pictures cannot be searched, cannot have its text portions copied into answers, cannot be detected by the Related Questions algorithm, and is invisible to screen readers.
    – tchrist
    Oct 1 at 16:02

1 Answer 1

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usage of 'right proper' or 'right and proper' in UK English.

'right proper' and 'right and proper' differ:

Right (adj. and adv.) - emphatic only - with a nuance of "great" or "large", otherwise lexically empty:

"That's another right mess you've got us into!" (Laurel & Hardy)

Proper (adj.) - how it should be; of something that is considered to be a real example; traditional; not a copy or imitation.

"When I said 'Give me a hammer, I meant a proper hammer! Not that little thing! I want something that will smash a brick!"

Right proper informal/colloquial (Chiefly Northern dialect) (adj. and adv.)

Right Between the Eyes!” by Kelly Chance Beckman • 2011 p 281: “I guess, you told that officer off right proper, Sarge.”

The Gift A.F. Henley • 2019 “Now just look at you,” August heard, and he turned toward the voice of the clerk that had helped him locate Doren the previous night. “A right proper gentleman in search of a right proper ride, I assume.”

'right and proper (adj.)' - usually formal.

right - morally correct; fair; equitable, just.

proper - in accordance with the law, manners, duty, or custom;

He added: "It is only right and proper that police officers face investigation where they are suspected of wrongdoing." (The Guardian)

"I feel certain this will be the right and proper time to stand down". (NYT)

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