Bob from Kalamazoo's been wondering about something: What's going on with "absolutely?" Does it mean yes, no, or something else?
University of Michigan English Professor Anne Curzan delved into the question.
"Luckily for us, there was a study in 2007 by Hongyin Tao at UCLA, who used four spoken databases of American English to try to figure out what's going on with 'absolutely.' He looked at two ways 'absolutely' occurs," Curzan says.
"One he called the "dependent absolutely." This is when 'absolutely' occurs before an adjective, as in 'absolutely right,' 'absolutely perfect,' or 'absolutely wrong.'