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A scholar writes: A transparent adverb can only be used after sentence negation or after another sentence adverb if it carries a stress:

Conrad has not really left.
Conrad has probably really left.

I do not understand why "really" in those sentences is called a "transparent" adverb.

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  • If "really" can only be used after "not" or another adverb, then a sentence like "Conrad has really left" would be incorrect. I don't think it is.
    – Andrew Leach
    Oct 5 '12 at 11:39
  • 2
    Could you provide more context for this scholar's statement?--a link to the passage would be just dandy. Oct 5 '12 at 12:33
  • I have located the book: books.google.com/books?isbn=354017236X
    – MetaEd
    Oct 5 '12 at 15:08
  • @MετάEd: Could you fold that into the question?
    – Noah
    Oct 5 '12 at 15:33
  • @Noah Unfortunately Google Books does not provide enough of the passage to be useful in the question.
    – MetaEd
    Oct 5 '12 at 15:34
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This paper by Cristiano Broccias contains a couple of clearer explanations of transparent adverbs:

  1. Sally angrily shouted at them.
  2. Sally angrily read the letter.

Angrily in (1) can be paraphrased as "out of anger." It stands for the motive which drove Sally to shout. Angrily in (2), by contrast, refers to the consequence of Sally's reading the letter: reading the letter made Sally angry. Geuder (2000) and Himmelmann and Schulze-Berndt (2005) call such uses transparent.

Broccias gives a further example to illustrate that a transparent adverb is used to convey a consequence.

However, I'm not sure how to apply this criterion to the example that the OP cites:

  1. Conrad has not really left.
  2. Conrad has probably really left.

Really can be paraphrased as "in actual fact" or "in reality." However, it's difficult to see how it's either a motive or a consequence in either sentence.

Either Monika Doherty is not using transparent adverb in the same sense as either Broccias or Geuder, or her example isn't well-chosen.

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  • Many thanks to everyone who answered, and especial thanks to those who took the effort to do some online research.
    – james
    Oct 6 '12 at 12:30

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