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:
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 bad||awful, terrible, disgusting, dreadful|
|very good||excellent, perfect, ideal, wonderful, splendid|
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:
The film was absolutely awful.
He was an exceptionally brilliant child.
The food smelled really disgusting.
- Normal and strong adjectives
- Intensifiers 1
- Intensifiers 2
Intensifiers with particular adjectives
Some intensifiers go with particular adjectives depending on the meaning of the adjective:
Some intensifiers go with particular adjectives. For example, we use the intensifier highly with the adjectives successful, intelligent, likely and unlikely:
but we do NOT say:
We use the intensifier bitterly with the adjectives disappointed, unhappy and cold:
You need to use your dictionary to find which nouns these intensifiers go with.
Intensifiers with comparatives and superlatives
We use these words and phrases as intensifiers with comparative adjectives:
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 superlative adjectives: easily, by far, much:
The blue whale is easily the biggest animal in the world.
This car was by far the most expensive.
- Intensifiers with comparatives and superlatives
Adjectives as intensifiers
We use some adjectives as intensifiers with nouns:
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.