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Is it correct in English grammar to use the term "very excellent"? While i can't see anything immediately wrong with it, it sounds wrong. What are your views on this?
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I agree with you.

Very and excellent are both superlatives, so very is not required there.

Well, I guess that very is not an extreme superlative, but it is close enough to being one to sound redundant when used with excellent.

I do not think that saying "It was a very excellent meal"
would be technically wrong, but as you said, it does not sound good.

I looked "very" up for you. This may be interesting.

Usage Note: In general usage very is not used alone to modify a past participle. Thus we may say of a book, for example, that it has been very much praised, very much criticized, very much applauded, or whatever, but not that it has been very praised, very criticized, or very applauded. However, many past participle forms do double duty as adjectives, in which case modification by a bare very, or by analogous adverbs such as quite, is acceptable: there can be no objection to phrases such as a very creased handkerchief, a very celebrated singer, or a very polished performance. In some cases there is disagreement as to whether a particular participle can be used properly as an adjective: over the years objections have been raised as to the use of very by itself with delighted, interested, annoyed, pleased, disappointed, and irritated. All these words are now well established as adjectives, as indicated by the fact that they can be used attributively (a delighted audience, a pleased look, a disappointed young man) as well as by other syntactic criteria. But the status of other participles is still in flux. Some speakers accept phrases such as very appreciated, very astonished, or very heartened, while others prefer alternatives using very much. What is more, some participles allow treatment as adjectives in one sense but not another: one may speak of a very inflated reputation, for example, but not, ordinarily, of a very inflated balloon. As a result, there is no sure way to tell which participles may be modified by a bare very-syntactic tests such as the use of the participle as an attributive adjective will themselves yield different judgments for different speakers-and writers must trust their ears. When in doubt, the use of very much is generally the safer alternative.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from InfoSoft International, Inc. All rights reserved.
Excellent is an adjective. Some adjectives refer to things that are 'gradable'. This means that there are grades, graduations, levels or degrees of something. You can have more or less of them.
For example, hot as in hot weather, or hot drinks could be more, or less, hot. There are degrees of hot. So hot is gradable, and we can use a suitable adverb of degree such as a bit, quite, fairly, really, extremely, very. etc. For example. "It was very hot on Sunday."

The range of adjectives used to describe temperature includes cold - cool - warm - hot. These are all gradable adjectives. However, a more complete range of temperature words would includes temperatures at the ends of the range, such as freezing and boiling. These two words are the absolutes of the range: freezing - cold - cool - warm - hot - boiling.
Such absolutes are not gradable. They are called 'non-gradable' adjectives. Water can't be hotter than boiling. It can be: warm, very warm, hot, very hot, or boiling. But it can't be very boiling! So words at the absolute ends of such descriptive ranges are non-gradable.

Another example of a range is: excellent, good, average, poor, bad, terrible.
Fine - well - ill - dead is another! The words at the ends on the range can't be graded. If we want to emphasise them we can't use adverbs of degree. You can be ill, very ill, seriously extremely ill,... or dead, but you can't be very dead! The other adjectives between the extremes are gradable adjectives and we can use appropriate adverbs of emphasis such as totally, completely, absolutely.
For example...
How are you today! Are you well?
Yes, I'm fine, absolutely fine, thank you.

Sometimes, adverbs of degree, like very, are actually used with non-gradable adjectives by native speakers, but this does not really make sense. Either the speaker has a poor understanding of the language, or is making a joke with words that don't match, or perhaps they are exercising some poetic licence!

Suggested reading: Practical English Usage by Michael Swan, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-431197-X Section 153: degree(1): gradeable and non-gradeable. www.oup.com/elt

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Very well done. So, by your conclusion, would the word "Excellent" count as a 'non-gradable adjective'? If so, that would mean that "Very Excellent" is unacceptable.
-Leon
I think you responded to the last thread just about four and a half years too late!Emotion: smile Smile.
The poster has not actively visited the forum since his last thread.
Anonymousthat would mean that "Very Excellent" is unacceptable.
For t hat reason, I will take the liberty to say: " in general, no native would say "Very Excellent", so the answer is "yes".
Excellent is a superlative, and there is no higher order to the word - hence the word "very" cannot be used to signify something better than excellence.

The word "very" is also getting attached to "unique" these days, as though there are diffrent types of "uniqueness"" !!
This, also, is quite wrong - something is either unique, or it isn't.
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I am also asking if the words "very excellent" go together...

BUT WHO SHOULD I TRUST?
If you just say "excellent" and that should be superlative enough, even though you will sometimes hear both "very excellent" and "most excellent."
e.g.
Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
AnonymousI am also asking if the words "very excellent" go together...

BUT WHO SHOULD I TRUST?
Don't trust Google. They only have 1,210,000 hits on "very excellent," one of which is yours.

Trust COCA (Corpus of Contemporary American English)

Most nice! Emotion: nodding
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