Which one is correct in this test?

she was ........... good at covering emotions she didn't want to show ,but he read them all and threw them back in her face.
a) carefully  b) seriously 
c) normally   d) wisely 


  • The phrase good at covering emotions represents something objectively observed. The female subject has that quality. She doesn't apply careful goodness or serious goodness or wise goodness.

    So what the test expects is the answer

    c) normally

    because this is an objective modification to the objective quality good at covering emotions.

    However, there is a growing tendency to use seriously good in a way that isn't recognised by the test. The OED describes the use as 'colloquial' and 'originally US' with the definition

    As an intensifier, qualifying an adjective: very, really; extremely, substantially.

    The quotes are all quite recent, and mostly American

    1970 Billboard 3 Oct. 28/3 Paulson, a seriously good player, and the rest of the group take off beyond the confines [of rock].
    1981 Washington Post 7 June k8/6 He became seriously rich, but in 1977 experienced a mid-wealth crisis.
    1987 Observer 22 Feb. 53/7 The World of Interiors, where an antique curtain tassel could cost a couple of hundred. Seriously rich. Seriously cool.
    1997 Shout 20 June 22/2 Sniffing glue is seriously bad news, a habit that all too often leads to death.
    2010 Independent 18 Oct. 27/1 America's seriously wealthy step up the pressure on Obama.

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