We use words like very, really and extremely to make adjectives stronger:
It’s a very interesting story
Everyone was very excited.
It’s a really interesting story.
Everyone was extremely excited
We call these words intensifiers. Other intensifiers are:
We also use enough to say more about an adjective, but enough comes after its adjective:
If you are seventeen you are old enough to drive a car.
I can’t wear those shoes. They’re not big enough.
Intensifiers with strong adjectives
Strong adjectives are words like:
|very big||enormous, huge|
|very bad||awful, terrible, disgusting, dreadful|
|very good||excellent, perfect, ideal, wonderful, splendid|
We do not normally use very with these adjectives. We do not say something is
very enormous or someone is very brilliant.
With strong adjectives, we normally use intensifiers like:
The film was absolutely awful.
He was an exceptionally brilliant child.
The food smelled really disgusting.
- Normal and strong adjectives
- Intensifiers 1
- Intensifiers 2
|Be careful! (level: advanced)|
Intensifiers with particular adjectives
Some intensifiers go with particular adjectives depending on the meaning of the adjective:
Some intensifiers go with particular adjectives. For example, we use the intensifier highly with the adjectives successful, intelligent, likely and unlikely:
but we do NOT say:
We use the intensifier bitterly with the adjectives disappointed, unhappy and cold:
You need to use your dictionary to find which nouns these intensifiers go with.
Intensifiers with comparatives and superlatives
We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with comparative adjectives
quite a lot
|a great deal
a good deal
a good bit
a fair bit
He is much older than me.
New York is a lot bigger than Boston.
We use much and far as intensifiers with comparative adjectives in front of a noun:
France is a much bigger country than Britain.
He is a far better player than Ronaldo.
We use these words as intensifiers with superlative adjectives: easily, by far, much
The blue whale is easily the biggest animal in the world.
This car was by far the most expensive.
- Intensifiers with comparatives and superlatives
Adjectives as intensifiers
We use some adjectives as intensifiers with nouns:
He’s a complete idiot.
They were talking utter nonsense.
but we do NOT say:
The idiot was complete. The nonsense they were talking was utter.