ever so slightly

raf.personal

Senior Member
English
Hi!
In the following context, what's the meaning of the expression ever so slightly?
"It's a flexible machine that's designed to bend ever so slightly under certain kinds of stresses."
Thanks!
 
  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I find this an odd sentence!
    Bend implies flexibility.
    I would interpret it as to bend to an insignificant extent.

    What kind of a machine is it?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It's talking about an airplane, and this is why the point that it is slightly flexible and not completely rigid is worth making. Here it is with the preceding sentence:
    "Every aircraft, even brand new, is designed to be somewhat flexible -- it's not a piece of rock. It's a flexible machine that's designed to bend ever so slightly under certain kinds of stresses." CNN Travel.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    In BE "ever so slightly" is usually a litotes i.e. rather a lot. I might say fo instance "I was ever so slightly angry with him" meaning I was frothing at the mouth with rage.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    In BE "ever so slightly" is usually a litotes i.e. rather a lot. I might say fo instance "I was ever so slightly angry with him" meaning I was frothing at the mouth with rage.
    This is interesting, but a very different meaning from the one intended in the context given.
     

    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In BE "ever so slightly" is usually a litotes i.e. rather a lot. I might say fo instance "I was ever so slightly angry with him" meaning I was frothing at the mouth with rage.
    I thought a litotes had to have a negative in it. Where is it?

    I don't believe ever so slightly can mean very!
     
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