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The movie is kinda good. (Predicative - Sounds okay)

It is a kinda good movie. (Attributive - Sounds kinda wrong?)

Why is this so?

There were very few results for "is a kinda good movie" compared to "movie is kinda good". I guessed this was an example of predicative-only adjective like it is mentioned here.

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    Have you done any research, other than thinking it 'sounds kinda wrong'? May 6 at 8:13
  • 1
    There were very few results for "is a kinda good movie" compared to "movie is kinda good". I guessed this was an example of predicative-only adjective like it is mentioned here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/39655/….
    – Tangent
    May 6 at 8:17
  • Alright, Thanks for your input! But why are there very few occurrences of it though?
    – Tangent
    May 6 at 8:19
  • There is 2,57,000 results for "is kinda good" while 37,400 for "a kinda good". I assumed the latter might be wrong usage. Thanks for clearing up!
    – Tangent
    May 6 at 8:29
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No, it doesn't really work.

"Good" is a very bland adjective that simply means something has other qualities on which you might judge it good. A "good meal" might be judged on taste and presentation, whereas a "good movie" would have very different metrics. So, while you can say something is "good", that just sums up what other attributes it might have.

When you say something is "kinda good" (a shortened way of saying "kind of good"), you're expressing an opinion that it somewhat has the qualities to be called "good". This doesn't quite sound right as an attribute because something either has a quality or it does not. "Kinda good" suggests it may have some desirable attributes but not others, and that's why it doesn't really work as an assigned attribute. If you could define what was good about it (eg good acting) and what was a bad (it was a bit slow) you could say "it is a well-acted movie" and "it is a boring movie".

It is true that there are some common pairings such as "very good" or "fairly good" which work just fine because they imply a sliding scale on which comparable things are measured equally (eg. this film is good, but this other one is very good), but the nature of "kinda/kind of" is to suggest a torn opinion, that you perhaps are struggling to categorise it as good or bad.

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  • Thanks a lot for the answer. This makes sense. But why does it ("kinda good") seem to work as a predicative? Is it because attributive positions are a lot more "strict" as in it only takes things that are definite (either has a quality or it does not)? Also why does "fairly" work both ways (check @Michael's answer for examples), Is it because it's a bit more definite than "kinda"?
    – Tangent
    May 6 at 9:40
  • @Tangent Basically, yes. When you assign an attribute to an object it is usually a binary thing, either it has the quality, or it doesn't. "Kinda good" by definition implies that it has some other unspecified qualities that are good or bad, so it doesn't work as a label. If you could define what was good about it (eg good acting) and what was a bad (it was a bit slow) you could say "it is a well-acted movie" and "it is a boring movie".
    – Astralbee
    May 6 at 10:07

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