Intensifiers

Level: 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
particularly
remarkably
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:

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

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
exceptionally
particularly
really
quite
totally
utterly

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

Normal and strong adjectives

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Intensifiers 1

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Intensifiers 2

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Be careful!

Level: advanced

Intensifiers with particular adjectives

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

I'm afraid your wife is dangerously ill.
The engine was dangerously hot.
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 which nouns these intensifiers go with.

Intensifiers with particular adjectives 1

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Intensifiers with particular adjectives 2

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Level: intermediate

Intensifiers with comparatives and superlatives

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 easily and by far as intensifiers with superlative adjectives:

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

Intensifiers with comparatives and superlatives

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Level: Advanced

Adjectives as intensifiers

We use some adjectives as intensifiers with nouns:

absolute
complete
total
perfect
real
utter

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.

Adjectives as intensifiers 1

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Adjectives as intensifiers 2

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Average
Average: 4.3 (26 votes)

Submitted by Mark Nam on Tue, 02/01/2024 - 10:32

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It is quite good!
Nguyen Xuan Nam- Aes 02

Submitted by Hosseinpour on Sat, 26/08/2023 - 11:57

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Respected team,
Hello,
The job was too demanding so many people quit.
What is role of "so" in this sentence? Is it conjunction or adverb?
Thank you

Hi Hosseinpour,

It's a conjunction. It introduces the result of the first clause.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Hi Hosseinpour,

Normally, yes. However, in informal writing, the comma is often left out.

If "so" was an adverb in that sentence, then a conjunction would need to be added, e.g. The job was too demanding and so many people quit.

Jonathan

LearnEnglish team

Submitted by osmank61 on Sun, 24/07/2022 - 12:51

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Hi there about adjectives as intesifiers the sentence: He's a complete idiot.
is the two words 'complete idiot' are adjectives together am i right? Thank you

Hi osmank61,

No, I'm afraid not. You have an adjective ('complete') and a noun (idiot) here: a complete idiot.

The adjective from the word 'idiot' would be 'idiotic' and if you wanted to use it you would modify it with an adverb: completely idiotic.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team