intensifiers

 

Intensifiers:

(Intermediate)

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:

amazingly exceptionally incredibly
remarkably particularly unusually

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:

enormous, huge = very big
tiny = very small
brilliant = very clever
awful; terrible; disgusting; dreadful = very bad
certain = very sure
excellent; perfect; ideal; wonderful; splendid = very good
delicious = very tasty

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:

absolutely completely totally utterly
really exceptionally particularly quite

The film was absolutely awful.
He was an exceptionally brilliant child.
The food smelled really disgusting.

Exercise

Exercise

Exercise

Warning!  

Intensifiers with particular adjectives:

(Advanced)

 

Some intensifiers go with particular adjectives depending on the meaning of the adjective:

I’m afraid your wife is dangerously ill.
He was driving dangerously fast.
The car was seriously damaged.
Fortunately none of the passengers was seriously hurt.

Some intensifiers go with particular adjectives. For example we use the intensifier highly with the adjectives successful, intelligent, likely and unlikely:

He was highly intelligent.
She’s a highly successful businesswoman

but we do not say:

We had a highly tasty meal.
That is a highly good idea.

We use the intensifier bitterly with the adjectives disappointed, unhappy and cold:

I was bitterly unhappy at school.
We were bitterly disappointed to lose the match.
It can get bitterly cold in winter.

You need to use your dictionary to find what sort of nouns these intensifiers go with.

Exercise

Exercise

 

Intensifiers with comparatives and superlatives:

(Intermediate)

We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with comparative adjectives:

much far a lot 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 superlatives:

easily by far much

The blue whale is easily the biggest animal in the world.
This car was by far the most expensive.

Exercise

Adjectives as intensifiers:

(Advanced)

We use some adjectives as intensifiers with nouns:

absolute total complete
utter perfect real

We say:

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.

 

Exercise

Exercise