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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 Mayes2112013,

'Utterly' is used with extreme/limit adjectives while 'amazingly' is used with regular/gradable adjectives. Thus we would say:

utterly fantastic/gorgeous/freezing/terrifying

amazingly good/beautiful/cold/frightening

We us 'a' and 'an' according to the sound of the next word, not the spelling. THe first sound in 'university' is not a vowel sound, it is /j/ and so 'a' is appropriate.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, I don't understand the next question and its answer. It appear in task of intensifiers: Have I met Maria's new boyfriend? No, but I've seen him and he's drop-dead gorgeous. I think the subject in the question should be 'you' and the answer must be 'yes' and it's not necessary 'but'. Please, Proffessor Peter, Could you help me with this item?

Hi Dalita,

It depends who is speaking. It could be that this is one person speaking and first they repeat the question to check that they have understood, and then answer it. It's quite common to do this:

A: Have you met Maria's new boyfriend?

B: Have I met Maria's new boyfriend? No, but I've seen him and he's drop-dead gorgeous.

The 'but' here is correct as the speaker is proving a contrast: 'I haven't met him but I have seen him'.

I have one request. Please post questions about exercises on the page with those exercises. It will help others who may also have the same question.

Best wishes


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot Mr.Peter

Dear Sir,
I read this sentence above: "She’s a bit younger than I am."
Would it be wrong if I say the same thing this way:
"She's a bit younger than me."

Hello adtyagrwl3,

No, that's not wrong, but rather perfectly correct!

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

l ve a question what is the difference btween these sentence
nervous,the man opened the door
nervously ,the man opened the door
always nervous,the man opened the door
With my regards

Hello hassini,

In terms of meaning, there's not much difference between these sentences. As you can see in the dictionary, 'nervous' is an adjective and 'nervously' is an adverb. Adjectives generally modify nouns. In this case, it describes what the man is like. Adverbs modify verbs, other adverbs or adjectives - in this case, it describes how the man opened the door. Perhaps could say the first sentence says more about the man and the second one says more about how he acted in one situation, but other than that the meaning is the same. As for the last sentence, 'always' is an adverb - here it modifies 'nervous', which modifies 'the man'.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi,I have two questions in this section.
1.The film wasn’t great but it was quite exciting. In this sentence what is the meaning of ''quite exciting''
2.By the end of the day we were rather tired.And what does 'rather tired' mean?
'quite' and 'rather' means that less or more,which one?

Hi utkusahin,

Generally, 'quite' means 'a little' and weakens the adjective, while 'rather' makes the adjective stronger, though perhaps not as much as 'very' or 'extremely'. However, the context does have an effect on this, as does the pronunciation, if the examples are spoken.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team