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Level: intermediate

Mitigators are the opposite of intensifiers. When we want to make an adjective less strong we use these words: fairly, rather, quite

By the end of the day, we were rather tired.
The film wasn't great, but it was quite exciting.

and in informal English: pretty

We had a pretty good time at the party.

Be careful!

Level: advanced


When we use quite with a normal adjective, it makes the adjective less strong:

The food was quite bad.
(= The food was bad but not very bad.)

My nephew is quite clever.
(= My nephew is clever but not very clever.)

But when we use quite with a strong adjective, it means the same as absolutely:

The food was quite awful.
(= The food was absolutely awful.)

As a child he was quite brilliant.
(= As a child he was absolutely brilliant.)

Level: intermediate

Mitigators with comparatives

We use these words and phrases as mitigators:

a bit
just a bit
a little
a little bit
just a little bit


She's a bit younger than I am.
It takes two hours on the train but it is a little bit longer by road.
This one is rather bigger.

We use slightly and rather as mitigators with comparative adjectives in front of a noun:

This is a slightly more expensive model than that.
This is a rather bigger one than that.

Mitigators 1


Mitigators 2



Hello Kirk,

Does 'pretty' have the same meaning as 'quite' or 'absolutely', if used with strong adjectives?


Hello Jonathan,

We use 'pretty' with gradable adjectives, but not with non-gradable adjectives (such as 'strong' adjectives). You might hear or read exceptions to this rule -- for example, 'How was the film? Pretty awful, actually!') -- and in these cases it means something like 'quite', but these are non-standard uses.

By the way, you can also read more about 'pretty' on this Cambridge Dictionary page.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Could I say?

Nino´s restaurant is slightly better than Bellini´s
Nino´s is a slightly better restaurant than Bellini´s

Both are correct?

Hello InmaLD,

Yes, both of those sentences are correct.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello sir,
I have a question. Is the following usage of adjective correct? What kind of adjective is it?
' The brave few fought the war'
Thanking you in anticipation

Hello Saquib,

The use is correct. There are a small number of adjectives that are used before 'few' and I think these are best treated as fixed expressions. The most common would be 'the brave few', 'the happy few' and 'the lucky few'.



The LearnEnglish Team question is about (the)
I've seen this sentence(Chelsa is one of Network's______(old)neighbourhoods.)
Should i use( the )here? The oldest or oldest?should I always use the in superlative adjective? I wanna which one is grammatically correct.

Hello Mhde

'oldest' is the correct answer. We use 'the' when we're speaking about one thing, but here we're speaking about several neighbourhoods (Chelsa and other ones).

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please help me?
He did a lot of exercises in the club. What a (long - hard) day!
Which adjective suits this? Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

Both long and hard are possible here and both suggest a tiring day, but there is a slight difference.

Hard suggests that the day was difficult.

Long suggests that the busy part of the day started early and finished late.


I suspect your first sentece is not correct, however. When we use exercise as a plural noun it means exercises in a schoolbook (maths exercises, English exercises etc). If we mean the kind of exercise we do in the gym then we use the singular form.

If you mean physical exercise then I think we would say:

He exercised for a long time in the club.


He spent a long time exercising in the club,



The LearnEnglish Team