In one of my posts (Adverb: the cornea "ideally should be perfectly" round like a ping-pong ball) I said

the cornea ideally should be perfectly round like a ping-pong ball

I am pretty sure this sentence is grammatical and idiomatic, as a nice contributor had verified it.

Per Cambridge Dictionary, there are at least 10 different types of adverbs and these are manner, place, time, duration, frequency, degree, focusing, certainty/obligation, viewpoint, evaluative.

I cannot match the adverb "ideally" to any of those types, could someone please give a hint? Thanks in advance.

  • It is an adverb of degree, meaning that which cannot bettered even in the imagination. Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 0:39
  • @JeffMorrow Thank you. What does "which" refer to in your answer?
    – WXJ96163
    Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 0:46
  • Technically it refers to "that," but it is part of an ellipsis, where "that" refers to whatever is being considered as superlative. It is hard to be specific about a modifier when no context is given as to what specifically is being modified. "Ideally" is frequently used as an equivalent to "In an ideal case" or "Under ideal circumstances." Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 1:12
  • I think "ideally" is a sentence adverb there, applying to the entire statement "the cornea should be perfectly round...". The adverb "perfectly" applies to the adjective "round". Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 3:15
  • @JeffMorrow For "when no context is given", is it possible to take "the cornea" as a context?
    – WXJ96163
    Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 3:29

1 Answer 1


As Jeff said, "ideally" is an adverb of degree. It is a sentence adverb that applies to the entire statement "the cornea should be perfectly round...". The other adverb, "perfectly", applies to the adjective "round".

Note that if you shift the word "ideally" to the beginning of the sentence, the meaning stays the same.

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