superlative form of impeccable?

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Kathy Nguyen

Senior Member
Vietnam
I'm wondering if it's idiomatic to use the superlative form of the word "impeccable" or not? For example in this sentence, "Today the day supposed to timestamp one of the most impeccable and substantial memories in my high school life turned out to be tremendously murky and horrible."
Thank you!
 
  • JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Something is either flawless or not: it is an extreme black/white concept - degrees of impeccable do not (technically) exist. It's like "most pregnant" - you're either pregnant or not :)
     
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    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    As with "perfect" and "flawless," idiomatic intensifiers are those that suggest completeness: "wholly," "totally," and of course, "completely."
    And as with "perfect," in many contexts it is arguably excessive to apply intensifiers, as it elevates the statement into hyperbole or at least redundance, though they are certainly used in casual conversation.

    You should note that multiple parts of your sample sentence are ungrammatical, unidiomatic, or confusing. For example, you usage of "timestamp" here is baffling. Fully exploring and correcting that sentence, however, is beyond the scope of this thread and the rules of the forum.
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I agree with Julian. You can't really talk about something being 'more impeccable' than anything else or being the 'most impeccable' of all: it either is or it isn't.

    I daresay that in that sentence "most perfect" might work, although you could make the same criticism about that.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    From a descriptivist standpoint, it arguably must be recognized that various intensifiers are used with those absolute terms "perfect," "flawless," and even "impeccable." It may be hyperbolic or perhaps inelegant and even annoying, but it does happen.

    What we can affirm is that it would sound incorrect or at least "illogical" and would not be suited to more formal contexts.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I get the impression from the sentence that "impeccable" is not actually the word the OP really means to use, and that it could just be the artifact of a simple word-for-word translation, using a dictionary with no regard for context. Perhaps there is a Vietnamese word that can in some contexts mean "impeccable", but which doesn't work here.

    "Vivid" might work, and does not have the disadvantage of being an absolute.
    but it does happen.
    Does that make it OK? Muggings, murders, robberies, and rapes also "happen". :)
     

    Kathy Nguyen

    Senior Member
    Vietnam
    I get the impression from the sentence that "impeccable" is not actually the word the OP really means to use, and that it could just be the artifact of a simple word-for-word translation, using a dictionary with no regard for context. Perhaps there is a Vietnamese word that can in some contexts mean "impeccable", but which doesn't work here.
    Well, I did not translate word for word from Vietnamese to English and to be honest, I don't think I can find any word in Vietnamese meaning "impeccable" that would suit this context. It's simply that the word sounds really nice and it's sort of a new word to me, that's why I want to employ it as many times as possible to remember it faster but admittedly, I did not consider much about the context. :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    As with "perfect" and "flawless," idiomatic intensifiers are those that suggest completeness: "wholly," "totally," and of course, "completely."
    And as with "perfect," in many contexts it is arguably excessive to apply intensifiers, as it elevates the statement into hyperbole or at least redundance, though they are certainly used in casual conversation.
    This point is why I included "technically" in my post . The intensified versions may be acceptable but they are not the superlative the OP was requesting:)
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    in the following case
    You should quote from it, rather than just link to it. The example uses "the very best", and you are presumably asking because you think "very" may be somehow grading "best" as though it were not an absolute.
    Well, "the very best" is a popular set phrase. "Very" is not really a grading here. It just serves to intensify the perception of "best". It also means "truly" or "really".
     
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