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Mitigators

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

quite

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
rather
slightly
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

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Mitigators 2

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Comments

If I say "I think Nino's restaurant is slightly better than the Billini's" instead of "I think Nino's is a slightly better restaurant than Billini's", could you please confirm if I'm right or wrong? Thanks.

Hello protik,

Both of those sentences are correct. 'Slightly' here modifies the adjective, making it less strong. We can use the adjective after be or as part of a noun phrase:

It is better
it is a better restaurant

In both cases we can use slightly as a modifier.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

I really appreciate this amazing practicing tool. thks a lot!

Hi, In the lesson there is a phrase "The government is firmly committed to reducing public debt, and is therefore bitterly opposed to any increases in spending"...  would it be correct to say "The government is firmly committed to reduce public debt, and is therefore bitterly opposed to any increases in spending" ?
When do you use the gerundial form of the verb as"reducing" vs the infinitive form "reduce"? Is it because the verb to commit requires the preposition "to" so the next world has to be a noun or action verb. ?
Do you have any lessons on the site that explain the usage of gerunds?  Thanks

Hi MayelaM,
As you suggest, in your example 'to' is a preposition which follows 'commit' and can be followed by a noun ('to the reduction of...') or a gerund ('to reducing...'), but not by a base form of the verb.
 
You can find more information on -ing forms here.
You can find related information and exercises on these pages:
 
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/verbs/verbs-fo...
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/clause-phrase-...
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-exercises/verbs-follow...
http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/grammar-exercises/verbs-follow...
 
I hope that helps to clarify it for you.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team
 

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The exercise is absolutely cool!

B12-075   tako
i made all exercise. they were very importent for my grammar skills

Dear teachers....                                                                                                                 I have a question about superlative adjectives,can I use"the most"or"the less"

Hello yousra youwa,
For long (3-syllable and some 2-syllable) adjectives 'the most' is needed to form the superlative:
beautiful > the most beautiful
To make a superlative with the opposite meaning we use 'the least' (not 'the less'):
beautiful > the least beautiful
I hope that clarifies it for you.  Good luck with your learning!
You can find more information on superlative (and comparative) adjectives here (click).
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
I have a question related to the noun modifiers (the noun modifier grammar page do not allows to put comments).
Sometimes I see noun modifiers connected with a dash, to make a compound "adjective" I suppose. I also notice (but I am not sure) that noun modifiers are always singular. For example, I have seen something like: "8-bit width" instead of "it contains 8 bits".
I would be grateful if you could extend the page "noun modifier" considering these aspects.
Thank you for your attention.
Regards.
Daniele Giacomini

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