Absolute or absolutely?

ucul

New Member
Indonesian - Indonesia
Hi everyone!

This is confusing me, which one is correct:
  1. My absolute favorite movie of all time.
  2. My absolutely favorite movie of all time.
Thanks!
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    This is confusing me, which one is correct:
    1. My absolute favorite movie of all time.
    2. My absolutely favorite movie of all time.
    It is clear that absolute does not modify movie - it is not an "absolute movie". Instead, absolute modifies favorite, so it is an adverb, and should be written as "absolutely".

    I think the reason absolute favorite "sounds better" is because favorite is also a noun, and absolute favorite is a very common noun phrase:

    What did you think of Star Wars?
    No question about it. It is my absolute favorite.

    There is another possible reading of sentence 1, in which it is correct grammar: it could be using the noun phrase absolute favorite as an "adjunct noun" or "noun modifier", which is a noun that modifies the noun after it.

    Examples are chicken soup, soup spoon, door bell, picnic table. I found explanations of this syntax by googling "noun modifying noun".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The fact remains that I can find no case in either the British or the American Corpus of absolutely favorite + noun:thumbsdown:, but there are a few of absolute favorite + noun:), which is the form of words I've always heard. Look at the ngrams.

    If you don't want it to sound strange, Ucul, say absolute favorite movie.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The fact remains that I can find no case in either the British or the American Corpus of absolutely favorite + noun:thumbsdown:, but there are a few of absolute favorite + noun:), which is the form of words I've always heard. Look at the ngrams.

    If you don't want it to sound strange, Ucul, say absolute favorite movie.
    There are actually four examples in the COCA corpus of absolutely favorite, all followed by a noun.

    The reason why absolute favorite/favourite is prefered is no doubt that it is a fixed phrase. As pointed out by dojibear, favorite/favourite is often a noun.

    You would not say or write things like There was an absolute:confused: disastrous earthquake there 200 years ago.
    The meaning of absolutely disastrous is an unqualified disaster (i.e. the adverb absolutely is used to emphasise a following adjective).
    We also say what happened was absolutely unique (although this qualification of unique is disliked by some).
     
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