Specializations > Semantics and Pragmatics

the phrase "highly unnecessary"

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Customer:
Is "highly unnecessary" a collocation?
Does that combination sound appropriate to native speakers of English?
Why or why not?

Daniel:
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.

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