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Author Topic: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?  (Read 2358 times)

Offline taregg

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same question


 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #1 on: 07/08/2013 20:08:10 »
You are absolutely right --> you are 100% correct.
You are, of course, right --> you are obviously correct.
 

Offline taregg

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #2 on: 10/08/2013 07:59:32 »
do you mean the word absolutely is more correct than the word of course....
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #3 on: 10/08/2013 20:50:13 »
do you mean the word absolutely is more correct than the word of course....
No. "Absolutely" is used to discuss the degree to which you believe something is correct. "Of course" is used to discuss the obviousness of a thing being correct. Which you use is determined by which of those aspects you want to discuss. If you have less certainty, you might say "probably right" rather than "absolutely right", whereas if you know something is certainly correct but not obvious, you might say "surprisingly" rather than "of course".

[Note: in neither case does the thing in question actually have to be correct.]

There are other possible meanings to consider, as in "absolutely enormous" which is really talking about extreme size relative to some standard. You may have other meanings in mind than the ones I've created examples for, so it would be best if you were to put the words in a context of your own making to guard against the possibility that we're talking about entirely different usages.
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #4 on: 11/08/2013 06:42:08 »
"Of course" signifies a logical conclusion from an arbitrary starting point, i.e. not illogical, but not necessarily unique.

"Absolutely", though the colloquial use is looser, implies an observer-independent reference point, and therefore a unique conclusion.
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #5 on: 11/08/2013 19:03:10 »
"Of course" signifies a logical conclusion from an arbitrary starting point, i.e. not illogical, but not necessarily unique.

Not all logical conclusions are sufficiently obvious to justify the use of "of course" in the way it is ordinarily used, but you make a good point: the origin of "of course" probably didn't refer to the obviousness of anything, but merely that the conclusion is generated from a starting point by following a course through a number of logical steps.

Quote
"Absolutely", though the colloquial use is looser, implies an observer-independent reference point, and therefore a unique conclusion.

That could be the case in relation to things like absolute zero, but I'm still looking for an example of the word "absolutely" being used in that way as opposed to "absolute". Generally speaking, "absolutely" is used with "none" or "all" to mean "no exceptions" (0% or 100%). "Absolutely right" is a claim that there is no error at all, and the same applies to "absolutely exact".
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #6 on: 14/08/2013 03:31:00 »
Contrast "absolutely" with "relatively".
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #7 on: 14/08/2013 19:37:50 »
Contrast "absolutely" with "relatively".

Relatively stationary = nearly stationary. Absolutely stationary = no movement at all.

In relativity terms though, the first of those could mean moving very fast, but stationary, and perhaps absolutely stationary, relative to some other object. "Absolutely" can therefore apply to both cases, so "relatively" doesn't altogether contrast with "absolutely"
 

Offline alancalverd

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #8 on: 15/08/2013 03:30:03 »
Relatively stationary is meaningful: the distance AB does not change with time, so A is stationary relative to B.

Absolutely stationary is meaningless. There is no universal, operator-independent, reference point C. 

In the world of this pedantic physicist, things either change or don't change!
 

Offline David Cooper

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #9 on: 15/08/2013 18:16:37 »
Absolutely stationary is meaningless. There is no universal, operator-independent, reference point C. 

Your belief that there is no such thing as absolutely stationary doesn't make the idea meaningless, and it has not been proved that there is no prefered frame of reference either.
 

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Re: How do 'absolutely' and 'of course' differ in meaning?
« Reply #9 on: 15/08/2013 18:16:37 »

 

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