someone for the job whose French is ..... fluent.

jankobilbao

Member
Spanish-North of Spain
Hello everyone.
Could you please explain the best option in the following sentence?
Apparently, they need someone for the job whose French is ..... fluent.

A) slightly B) virtually C) practically D) fairly

So, what type of adjective is FLUENT?
The grammar book says B) virtually fluent is the correct answer.
According to the grammar book ,The adverbs ALMOST , NEARLY, VIRTUALLY, PRACTICALLY modify ungradable adjectives with “ a fix meaning” ( eg: almost dead, almost empty, nearly complete, virtually impossible)

So FLUENT seems to be treated as such, ie, an ungradable adjective with a fixed meaning.
However, to my Spanish ears expressions such as “ very fluent” “ fairly fluent” sound absolutely correct.
In other words, FLUENT is a gradable adjective , in my opinion.

Finally, if the correct answer is B) virtually fluent, why is not correct C) practically fluent?
Thank you so much in advance.
 
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  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Only "fairly fluent" sounds natural to me. "Slightly fluent" makes no sense, and B) and C) seem weak. "Very fluent" seems fine.

    Of course "fairly fluent" doesn't mean the same thing as, say, "completely fluent."
     

    gengo

    Senior Member
    American English
    Apparently, they need someone for the job whose French is ... fluent.

    A) slightly B) virtually C) practically D) fairly

    I agree with Newt that only D sounds natural to me, although I suppose B and C could be considered correct. However, I can't explain why I think that. If the test writer chose B because the intended meaning is "almost perfectly fluent," then "virtually" is not the best choice of word. The concept of language fluency is very nebulous, and its evaluation is very subjective, so fluency can be modified with a wide range of adjectives (or adverbs, as in your case).
     

    horsewishr

    Senior Member
    English (Generic Midwest Variety)
    All except A work, in my opinion. The question is what are they trying to say?

    To answer your question, practically fluent and virtually fluent mean the same thing, in my book. Virtually is a slightly higher register. So if you’re trying to match a passage of text, it may be a more correct answer.

    I often describe myself as fairly fluent in Spanish. To me, this means me defiendo. But I would not likely qualify for a job as an interpreter.
     

    User With No Name

    Senior Member
    English (U.S. - Texas)
    In other words, FLUENT is a gradable adjective , in my opinion.
    I think you're right. And, while other posters are debating which adjectives are logical in this context, they all seem to agree that there are degrees of fluency. Being fluent isn't like being pregnant.
     
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