The sentence with the adverb is from Crash Course Anatomy & Phisiology. It is at around 21 second. Here is the context:

In fact, Beaumond performed so many surgeries on the injury over the next several months, that he decided, somewhat questionably, to just keep St. Martin's stomach wound open.

Does that mean that the surgeon's decision not to stich the wound kind of immoral?

2 Answers 2


His decision to do X was somewhat questionable. adjective

He decided, somewhat questionably, to do X. adverb

One would have reasonable grounds to question the decision, somewhat. verb

to question in this sense means to ask whether a course of action was appropriate. With somewhat, it means to do so in a manner that only borders on an accusation that the person was acting with poor judgment when taking that action. The word somewhat is a hedge. It's not an accusation outright.

  • It might be worth pointing out that the negated adverbial form is unquestionably more common. And to be honest, I can't see any easy way of idiomatically including the non-negated version in OP's cite context without also including the word somewhat (which is almost a kind of "weak negation" in itself). Mar 26, 2018 at 14:02
  • His decision was not unquestionably questionable; it was only somewhat questionable. Somewhat is only somewhat a negation.
    – TimR
    Mar 26, 2018 at 14:10
  • So you think it would only be somewhat difficult to rephrase OP's example in such a way as to retain questionably whilst discarding somewhat? I'm almost tempted to cancel my upvote and only reinstate it if/when you can come up with a credible rephrasing! :) Mar 26, 2018 at 14:21
  • 1
    He decided, questionably, to keep the wound open. is perfectly legit, though less likely in the 21st century than He made the questionable decision to keep the wound open.
    – TimR
    Mar 26, 2018 at 14:33
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    He decided something somewhat questionably. So, sure, we have an example of a questionable decision. What we don't have (and what OP wants to know) are the grounds for the potential questions. The decision might be questionable on ethical and moral grounds, or on legal grounds, or on purely practical ground, or on nearly any other basis that we can imagine. Does "somewhat questionably" mean "somewhat morally questionably"? Maybe. Maybe not. Mar 26, 2018 at 15:34

Not necessarily immoral, but instead professionally unsound. It could be considered a mistake, but it's not clear-cut.

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