Can I say "very beautiful" or is it incorrect? My English teacher (actually she's not a native English speaker) says it's a mistake. I've seen examples of this usage on the internet, though.

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    It depends on the context. If someone were to say, "This is a very beautiful question," I'd side with your English teacher. However, if someone were to say, "This is a very beautiful park," or, "This is a very beautiful beach," I'd have no problem with that. In a sentence like, "She has very beautiful eyes," I don't think the very is wrong, but it doesn't seem to add much value to the sentence, either, and removing it might be considered an improvement, especially in more formal writing. – J.R. Nov 1 '14 at 23:34

'Very beautiful' is perfectly good English. The only explanation I can think of for your teacher's comment is that she may be thinking of pairs of words like 'angry' and 'furious', where we can say 'very angry' but not 'very furious', because 'furious' has an 'extreme' meaning to it. 'Beautiful' is not (grammatically) an 'extreme adjective'.

'Totally beautiful' and 'absolutely beautiful' are much rarer phrases, and sound more informal.

  • Thank you so much) She told me that 'beautiful' is an extreme adjective of 'pretty'. Nice to know that I wasn't wrong) – user11584 Nov 1 '14 at 21:14
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    @user11584 I would think that of a word like "stunning" or "gorgeous." Beautiful is one that you could make an argument for either way, though I would tend to side with you. Your teacher may also have wanted you to avoid overusing the word "very." – Jason Patterson Nov 1 '14 at 22:58
  • As a writer and teacher, I'm all about using very as little as possible. What does very add to beautiful? I don't think much. I agree with @Jason Patterson and would go for a different word rather than use "very" beautiful. It just makes for stronger, better writing. – user6951 Nov 2 '14 at 1:07
  • I was trying to provide a short answer and left out important points, which Jason and CarSmack have mentioned (thanks!): 'very' is often overused, and can lost its force, and 'beautiful' has a number of synonyms, which can add variety, nuance and colour to your speaking and writing. – Sydney Nov 2 '14 at 5:19

If you used very beautiful and absolutely beautiful with a native speaker of American English, there would be nothing unusual or strange in what you've said. These are normal register.

But if you said "totally beautiful" you would have to add a "dude" somewhere :-) That's how Garth and Wayne talk in the movie Wayne's World.

Totally awesome, dude.

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