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Outstanding

  1. prominent; conspicuous; striking

  2. marked by superiority or distinction; excellent; distinguished

  3. standing out; projecting:

From what I have come across, this word is normally used in a positive connotation. To use it in a negative connotations, we attach negative words with it like "outstandingly bad", "outstandingly filthy" etc.

So my question is : Is "outstanding" by itself always used in a positive connotation or are there exceptions to this?

For Example:

It was outstanding how Joe beat me up after I corrected his grammar. He is not an aggressive person at all.

Is the use of outstanding incorrect in the above sentence?

1 Answer 1

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"outstanding" is an adjective. The phrase "adjective + ("how" clause)" works with almost any adjective and is used to talk about an idea and your opinion about it. Some adjectives, however, sound ridiculous with this phrase (like "happy" for instance). Yes, in your case you can use "outstanding" that way. This word can be a synonym of "excellent", "exceptional", "terrific", "amazing", "remarkable" and many others.

  • [How Joe beat me up] (after I corrected his grammar) was [outstanding].

You can also use the adverb - "outstandingly" but for that you'll have to rephrase your sentence:

  • I was outstandingly well beaten up by Joe after I corrected his grammar. (Passive)
  • Joe beat me up outstandingly well after I corrected his grammar. (Active)

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