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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



Hi there,

I am a bit confused the usage of this intensifier "a great deal"
for ex, London is a great deal bigger than Liverpool.

please help me how I can properly use it with examples.

Thanks in Advance.

Hello Maahir,

We use a great deal before comparative adjectives:

a great deal bigger

a great deal more expensive


We use a great deal to show that the difference between two things is not a small difference. Thus, 'a great deal more expensive' means that the difference in price or cost was very big - not one dollar but maybe a thousand dollars!



The LearnEnglish Team

Many thanks.

Hello. Could you please help me to know which one is correct or better than the other?
- Alexandria and Port Said are two important Egyptian (ports - harbours).
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

I'm afraid I'm not very knowledgeable in this regard -- I'd suggest you have a look at this explanation.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Which of the two following adjectives is correct and suitable in this sentence?
- Trying to fix this mobile is a waste of money. It's completely (useless-hopeless)
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

'hopeless' and 'useless' could both be used here, but mean different things (see the dictionary). If I've understood the situation correctly, I'd probably say 'It will cost more to repair it than it will to buy a new one' or 'It'll be cheaper to buy a new one than to repair it'.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Is the following sentence correct?
- People want love stories with happy ends.
Some colleagues say that it must be "endings", what do you think?
Thank you.

Hello Ahmed Imam,

'Endings' sounds much better to me. You can say 'a happy end', but I don't think it is used in the plural form.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello. Which adjective is correct or both are? Why?
- A leading businessman has been reported missing=lost from his home.
- A small child has been missing=lost for 3 hours.
- They still hope to find their missing=lost son.
- My keys are missing=lost. Have you seen them anywhere?
Thank you.