More complete?

In 2007, The Dutch Taaladviesdienst (a language advice service run by Genootschap Onze Taal)  published Taal top 100, a collection of the 100 most popular usage problems in Dutch, in the fields of spelling, grammar, lexis , punctuation and style. The preface opens with an interesting sentence: “Taaladviesboeken zijn er genoeg – het ene nog completer dan het andere.” In English: “There are plenty [Dutch] usage guides – the one even more complete than the other.”

In an English context, such a sentence would have provoked a lot of comment, the same kind of protest as that found for very unique. After all, words like complete and unique are so-called absolute adjectives, that cannot be modified by very or more, or so the argument goes. And indeed, one of the few Dutch letters to the editor I encountered was on “rather unique”, tamelijk uniek. So I was surprised to find this particular form in a language advice manual from what is arguably the most authoritative language advice body in The Netherlands.

So here is a question specifically directed at our Dutch readers: what about more complete? Do you find it acceptable or not? Please fill in the poll below and let us know.

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