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Rfv-sense: In an enormous manner. I only think of this as a degree adverb. There's a sense that is something like "outrageously", "shockingly", related to "enormity". I fear many of the -ly adverbs are inadequately or even erroneously defined in this way. DCDuringTALK 02:46, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I don't think I see the difference. e.g. (Google Books) "would add enormously to the value of the remaining houses" (would add in an enormous manner; would add hugely, would be a great addition); "was enormously to the benefit of civilization" (was to the benefit in an enormous manner; gave a huge benefit, was an enormous benefit). What am I missing; what is the rule to tell them apart? Equinox◑ 03:17, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
AFAICT, the difference between manner and degree adverbs is that the second can modify adjectives and, if they are from an adjective "X" are readily defined as "to an X degree". The manner adverbs usually modify verbs. I don't know what "in an enormous manner" would mean apart from "to an enormous degree" (or "shockingly", though that usage is outside my remembered experience). In the second usage above "enormously" modifies the predicate "to the benefit of civilization", interpreted as an adjective. The "to an enormous degree" wording works for the first use also.
An adverb like "contentiously" is almost always a manner adverb. I think a sense like "to a contentious (or debatable or disputable) degree" would be rare, though they could occur: "The election results were contentiously close."
Perhaps "honestly" is even more rarely a degree adverb. What would "to an honest degree" mean? DCDuringTALK 03:45, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
Okay, then I suppose "in an enormous manner" would only work in a sentence like: "The unruly giant stomped enormously through the city". I haven't really recognised any such distinction to this point, so I am probably responsible for your "many ... inadequate ... adverbs". I remember an earlier spat about "in an X manner" vs. "in an X way", and to be honest I just shut off at that point because it didn't seem to deal with any difference I could comprehend. Equinox◑ 04:00, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
I myself hadn't been aware of the distinction until recently and don't have such a great understanding. Because many dictionaries give most "-ly" adverbs only the equivalent of a related-terms treatment, we don't have much to go on by way of models. Also, the manner definition is very often perfectly adequate and often difficult to beat as the adverb is so rarely used. I have just started an effort in this area and have populated a category with 87 degree adverbs (though I believe there are a few miscategorized or debatable), mostly adverbs not ending in "-ly". I am working through some grammar books lists of illustrations of degree adverbs to develop a sense of the pattern. Also there are synonyms that seem like easy cases. I doubt that this is something that could fruitfully employ many except to review what I am doing. Those that have determiner and phrase PoSs are the ones most likely to be wrong or debatable. If there are problems of any kind with the -ly adverbs It would be nice to know now before I start plowing through the main list of adverbs to locate more (in a few days to a week). DCDuringTALK 12:02, 21 November 2009 (UTC)
RFV failed, sense removed. —RuakhTALK 00:11, 4 September 2010 (UTC)