"That is not so good."
Translation:그것은 그리 안 좋아요.
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I think I've seen 별로 이다 translated as "It's so-so". I'm thinking 그리 means something similar to 그렇게. Like it's referencing something else, some external measurement. According to this I think I'm right: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%EA%B7%B8%EB%A6%AC
But I'm not sure on 그리 tbh
If I'm correct then the cause of the confusion with this sentence is the two meanings of "so" in English, not that these two Korean words are similar.
• 그리/그렇게 = like that, as claimed.
그리 좋지 않습니다. It is not as good as claimed = It is not THAT good.
• 발로/특별히 = in particular/specially
별로 좋지 않습니다 = It is not particularly (very; really), good.
별로 acts as a downtoner of a negated sentence. ( It softens the negative tone. )
• "별로이다" is an oddball, a colloquial idiom equivalent to "(be) nothing to write home about / nothing interesting or special" ...
My impression is
그리 = 그렇게 ( = to such extent/that ) are used as intensifiers while
별로 ( = (not) particularly, (not) so ) is a downtoner
• 그것은 그리 안 좋아요 = That is not as good as that = That is not that good (coll.)
=> 그것 is "good" but Speaker disagrees with such assessment.
• 그것은 별로 안 좋아요 = That is not so good
=> 그것 is "not good". Speaker agrees but does not want to express it bluntly.
Yes, an adverb placement can be flexible depending on which word it is meant to modify.
In the case of 그리, this adverb is used to modify either
•descriptive verbs (/adjectives) of negative meaning s.a. 어렵다, hard; 게으르다, lazy etc. => 그리 + nV
• Negated descriptive verbs/adjectives i.e. one in the form 안 V/A or V/A지 않다 => 그리 + 안 V/A or 그리 + V/A지 않다
In this example, the adjective is 좋다, good. Its negated form can be either 안 좋다 or 좋지 않다.
그리 is then applied to modify either of these negated form. Hence, 그리 (안 좋다) or 그리 (좋지 않다) = be that (not good) => be not that good i.e. be bad-ish.