Reply to "very much a..."

David, Moderator posted:

Hi, Kuen,

No, "out-and-out" is not a natural or a good substitute for "very much" in the example I gave. "He is an out-and-out loner" means "He truly is a loner," "The category of loner completely fits him." It does not mean that he is emphatically a loner, or a loner to a high degree. Here are contexts where "out-and-out" works:

A: Is he a loner?
B: Not really. He may spend a lot of time by himself, but he isn't an out-and-out loner. When his schedule is free, he loves to spend time with others.

A: Does he like to spend time with others?
B: He doesn't seem to. In fact, I've never seen him spend longer than a minute or two with anyone. I would say he is an out-and-out loner.

Hi David,

I have some more questions as follows:

1. Do you mean that 'very much' doesn't mean "he truly is a loner," or "The category of loner completely fits him"?

2. Is 'out-and-out' only used in a negative way?

3. When you describe someone is a loner, Doesn't it mean he or she is truly a loner?

Thank you very much for your help.