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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. I want to thank the working team for such intensive and clear explanation concerning the use of the intensifiers

Hello Lidia,

You are welcome! It's great to know that we are helping people.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello The LearnEnglish Team,
I have doubt regarding one sentence presented as an example on last section(Adjective/intensifier).
- Fortunately none of the passengers was seriously hurt.

Why are we using a singular verb 'was' instead of 'were' in this sentence ? As per my understanding, if none is followed by singular noun we take singular verb, but here passengers is plural, isn't it ?


Hello Rajneesh Kumar,

'none of' + a plural noun can take either a singular or plural verb. The plural form is probably more common and is more informal than the singular one, but both are considered correct.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

It is rather difficult to recall sentences in mitigator 1 in order to fill up questions at mitigator 2.

Hi, I don't understand the next question and its answer:
Have I met Maria's new boyfriend?
No, but I've seen him and he's drop-dead gorgeous.
Could some educator explain it? Please!

Hello Dalita,

'Drop dead gorgeous' is an idiomatic expression means 'extremely beautiful'. It is an informal expression.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir,
I hope you don't mind me asking this question here. In the article, noun modifiers, I read about joining two or more nouns to show that one is part of another. So, can we say:
'Bring me three glass water'
or should we say:
'Bring me three glasses of water'

As water is technically not a part of those glasses.
Are there any specific category of nouns that we should not combine like this?

Hello adtyagrwl3,

The second sentence is correct.

We can join, for example, 'water' and 'glasses' but not to mean glasses with water in them. What we can say is 'water glasses' when we mean glasses that are used with water rather than something else. Similarly we can say 'wine glasses', 'champagne glasses', 'coffee cup' etc.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Which adjectives are suitable for intensifiers(utterly and amazingly)
Is this sentence correct(was a universally popular)would it be more suitable to say (an universally popular)?