Linguist Forum

Specializations => Semantics and Pragmatics => Topic started by: Customer on January 02, 2020, 10:01:49 AM

Title: the phrase "highly unnecessary"
Post by: Customer on January 02, 2020, 10:01:49 AM
Is "highly unnecessary" a collocation?
Does that combination sound appropriate to native speakers of English?
Why or why not?
Title: Re: the phrase "highly unnecessary"
Post by: Daniel on January 02, 2020, 10:34:38 AM
It's a common phrase. "Highly" is a more restricted variant of "very", appearing in phrases like "highly toxic" or "highly unpredictable", referring to something on a clear scale, often with negation connotations.

"Collocation" simply refers to the statistical tendency for two words to appear together, so it's a continuous numerical value rather than a binary question of membership in a class. Yes, it's a pairing that often appears together, but no, it's not as closely correlated or idiomatic as some other combinations.

The best way to study these things is often to look at usage in a corpus. For the basics, even just a Google search for "highly unnecessary" will do.