Intensifiers and mitigators

Level: intermediate


We use words like very, really and extremely to make adverbs stronger:

She speaks English very well.
They behaved really foolishly.
He put the glass down extremely carefully.

We call these words intensifiers. Other intensifiers are:

amazingly exceptionally incredibly remarkably particularly

We also use enough to say more about an adverb, but enough comes after its adverb:

She didn't win. She didn't play well enough.


We use words like fairly, rather and quite to make adverbs less strong:

She speaks English fairly well.
They behaved rather foolishly.
The children played quite happily.

We call these words mitigators. Mitigators are the opposite of intensifiers.

Intensifiers and mitigators 1


Intensifiers and mitigators 2



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Submitted by lien.t on Fri, 19/05/2023 - 09:32


Dear teachers,

I have a question about this subject:
Can we put adverbials & intensifiers & mitigators before Verbs ? as I learned from the last lesson that in order to emphasize the adverb of manner we can put adv in front of main verb. So can we say : "The children rather anxiously waited for their new teacher?" (example in the practice)

And can I answer: "My parents recently moved into a quite new flat" instead of "My parents quite recently moved into a new flat" ?

thank you!

Hi lien.t,

Yes, that sentence is grammatically correct. However, its meaning is different from the original sentence.

  • My parents recently moved into a quite new flat. ("quite" describes "new flat")
  • My parents quite recently moved into a new flat. ("quite" describes "recently")

Note that in these sentences, "quite" describes an adjective (sentence 1) and an adverb (sentence 2), rather than a verb.

Does that make sense?


LearnEnglish team