LINGUIST List 7.909

Wed Jun 19 1996

Disc: "not really"

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <>


  1. David Ganelin, Not really

Message 1: Not really

Date: Mon, 17 Jun 1996 07:00:47 PDT
From: David Ganelin <>
Subject: Not really
Having missed the beginnings of this string, perhaps my comments are not
to the point, but here goes...

To me, the sentence "He's not just real (really) sick." definitely does
NOT imply that the person is NOT extremely sick, but the exact opposite;
i.e., that he is, in fact, deathly ill. It is exactly the insertion of
'just' that reverses the 'sign' of this sentence; without it, the speaker
would be saying that the person is either a little under the weather or
perhaps even faking.

It seems that our very different interpretations (see Charles Rowe's
posting in 7.866) of this sentence may be regional. I'd be interested in
discovering which regions understand it which way.

Thanks, really, for 'listening.'

David Ganelin
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