- The basics - gradable and non-gradable adjectives
- Collocations - adverbs with adjectives
- Collocations - adverbs with verbs
- Collocations - adjectives with nouns
- Intensifying with so and such
- Intensifying with well
1. The Basics
Exercise 1a - Gradable and non-gradable ?
- Gradable - can be graded or given different degrees on a sliding scale.
- Non-gradable - can be divided into two types:
- Strong or Extreme adjectives - strong or extreme equivalents of gradable adjectives.
- Absolute adjectives- they are either true or not true, there is no middle ground.
- Strong or Extreme adjectives - strong or extreme equivalents of gradable adjectives.
Exercise 1b - Basic intensifiers (one or two perhaps not quite so basic) ?
|3.||gradable and non-gradable with the same meaning|
|4.||gradable and non-gradable with a different meaning|
Exercise 1c - Gradable, strong or absolute?
- As you can use it with both gradable and non-gradable adjectives, you don't have to worry about the grammar side of things.
- It has more emotional content than very. Look at these sentences:
- Thanks for the party, I had a very good time.
- Thanks for the party, I had a really good time.
2. Collocations - Intensifying adverbs modifying adjectives
Exercise 2a - Here's a relatively easy exercise as a warm-up. Fill in the adjectives. ?
|1.||It was patently to everyone that he wouldn't get the job.|
|2.||She was conspicuously from the meeting. I wonder why?|
|3.||He made it abundantly that he was not satisfied.|
|4.||We are supremely of winning this contract.|
|5.||It was totally of him to do that. Whatever got into him?|
|6.||She seemed genuinely when they announced her award.|
|7.||The music from next door was excruciatingly last night.|
|8.||Their new hi-fi system was staggeringly . I hope it's worth it.|
|9.||The train journey was unbearably . My legs were agony.|
|10.||I'm immensely for all you've done for us.|
|11.||We're tremendously about our trip to India next month.|
|12.||This last-minute deal is ludicrously . What's the catch?|
Exercise 2b - A bit harder. Choose the best adverb to fit. Some might go with more than one question. ?
|1.||I was disappointed with my exam result.|
|bitterly - perfectly - purely|
|2.||They've just bought a new car.|
|purely - thoroughly - brand|
|3.||She's gifted for her age.|
|bitterly - extraordinarily - thoroughly|
|4.||Her wedding dress was expensive.|
|purely - brand - ridiculously|
|5.||It's a hypothetical question.|
|ridiculously - purely - thoroughly|
|6.||It's cold outside.|
|purely - utterly - bitterly|
|7.||You should be ashamed of yourself. You're an utter prat!|
|bitterly - purely - thoroughly|
|8.||I'm really sorry. It was accidental.|
|thoroughly - extraordinarily - purely|
|9.||She wears high heels.|
|ridiculously - perfectly - thoroughly|
|10.||I'd never been so happy in all my life.|
|blissfully - purely - thoroughly|
|11.||He couldn't be more wrong.|
|utterly - ridiculously - bitterly|
|12.||It was a(n) enjoyable trip.|
|thoroughly - utterly - perfectly|
Exercise 2c - And some more ?
|1.||You look ridiculous in that hat.|
|2.||He was rude to me at the party.|
|3.||Don't say that! That's just stupid.|
|4.||You're right there, mate. (informal)|
|5.||Well sorry, but I think you're wrong.|
|6.||Baby seals look so defenceless, don't they?|
|7.||Don't worry, that's understandable.|
|8.||She's talented, that girl.|
|9.||The prices in that place are high.|
|10.||Both sisters are beautiful.|
Exercise 2d - And even more ?
|1.||The canyon looks beautiful at dawn.|
|2.||I'm hungry. I could eat a horse.|
|3.||She is like her mother.|
|4.||That sounds like a(n) good idea!|
|5.||This chocolate cake is delicious.|
|6.||I got drunk last night.|
|7.||She's capable of looking after herself.|
|8.||Mr. Kipling makes good cakes. (TV ad)|
|9.||Her flat is always clean.|
Exercise 2e - Getting fiendishly difficult. Choose an adverb from the left hand box and an adjective from the right hand box. ?
Tip - Fit all the adjectives in first, before you worry about the adverbs. You can then do a part-check.
inexpressibly · purely
unspeakably · infinitely
incredibly · unutterably
indescribably · vastly
|superior · awful · talented
sad · coincidental · filthy
eccentric · better
rude · beautiful
|1.||The sunset was so I can hardly find the words.|
|2.||That actor is . He's sure to get an Oscar.|
|3.||Their house was . Do they never clean it?|
|4.||She was to me on the phone.|
|5.||The film is . It's a real tear-jerker.|
|6.||This solution is than the other one we tried.|
|7.||This hotel is to the last one we stayed in.|
|8.||He has a(n) sense of humour.|
|9.||The food was . I'll never eat there again.|
|10.||Our meeting like this is . I didn't plan it at all.|
3. Collocations - Intensifying adverbs modifying verbs
Exercise 3 - Choose the best adverb to modify the verb. ?
|1.||The suspect denied robbing the bank.|
|honestly - readily - categorically|
|2.||I regret having said that to you.|
|deeply - quite - enthusiastically|
|3.||They support their local team.|
|honestly - enthusiastically - categorically|
|4.||I appreciate your position, but ...|
|deeply - fully - strongly|
|5.||I believe that I took the right course.|
|utterly - positively - honestly|
|6.||They encourage their employees to take up a sport.|
|positively - sincerely - utterly|
|7.||I hope I am wrong about this.|
|strongly - sincerely - deeply|
|8.||We recommend that you think your decision over.|
|quite - strongly - utterly|
|9.||They reject all the accusations made against them.|
|totally - deeply - enthusiastically|
|10.||This screw refuses to budge (move).|
|readily - strongly - utterly|
|11.||I admit that I'm rather fond of bitter chocolate.|
|sincerely - readily - strongly|
|12.||Don't worry, I understand your point of view.|
|categorically - deeply - quite|
4. Collocations - Intensifying adjectives modifying nouns
Exercise 4 - In each question two adjectives collocate with the noun. Click on the adjective which does not go with the noun, or goes least well with it. ?
|1.||That film was just a lot of ............ nonsense. (not )|
|arrant - utter - comprehensive|
|2.||We have ............ confidence in your abilities. (not )|
|pure - complete - unshakeable|
|3.||He showed ............ skill in the way he handled the car. (not )|
|consummate - unadulterated - faultless|
|4.||Don't trust her. She's a(n) ............ liar. (not )|
|perfect - inveterate - compulsive|
|5.||The holiday was a(n) ............ disaster. (not )|
|unmitigated - total - perfect|
|6.||It was an act of ............ stupidity. (not )|
|sheer - crass - compulsive|
|7.||She has ............ faith in her abilities. (not )|
|complete - unshakeable - pure|
|8.||It was by ............ luck that he landed that job. (not )|
|rank - pure - sheer|
|9.||The race was won by a ............ outsider. (not )|
|rank - sheer - complete|
|10.||Taking a risk like that was ............ madness. (not )|
|utter - arrant - sheer|
5. Using so and such as intensifiers
Exercise 5a - Fill in the gaps. ?
|1.||We were disappointed to miss an important event.|
|2.||It was a lovely day yesterday, and the sun was hot.|
|3.||There were such people there that we lost count.|
|4.||You have lovely children, and they're polite.|
|5.||Their house must have cost lot. It's enormous.|
|6.||That is just like him to do that. He's waster.|
|7.||We haven't seen you for long. - I know, it's been ages.|
|8.||He's a lucky guy that she loves him .|
|9.||He's rude person. - You're right there!|
|10.||We're pleased that so people came on wet day.|
5b The so not construction
Exercise 5b - Choose the best word to fill the gap ?
|1.||It's so not that I stole your boyfriend.|
|2.||She's got all that money and good looks too. It's so not .|
|3.||I'm so not a person. Much more of a night owl.|
|4.||He thinks I'll go out with him. Well, that's so not .|
|5.||I'm so not to their boring drinks party.|
|6.||'Cause I'm so not you. (song by Simply Red)|
|7.||He is so not . No way am I going out with him.|
|8.||Forget him. He's so not .|
- That dress she's wearing is so last year.
- She is so over him. At least that's what she says.
- I am so through with you. (Thanks to the person in Poland who googled that one)
6. Using well as an intensifier
Exercise 6 - Choose the best word to fill the gap ?
|1.||This book is well reading. You should give it a shot.|
|2.||We were well of what might happen.|
|3.||She knew only well that she'd made the wrong decision.|
|4.||Why does he drive that old banger? He could well a new car.|
|5.||Don't worry about him. He's well to take care of himself.|
|6.||She was well with him when he stood her up. (UK informal)|
|7.||We were well chuffed () when our team won. (UK informal)|
|8.||Did you see the way she smiled at him? He's well there. (informal)|
|9.||Working in a burger bar! That's well ! (UK ultra informal)|
|10.||That was a well dress she was wearing. (UK ultra informal)|
7. The F-word - The ultimate intensifier?
Answers to the exercises - Click on a button and return to the exercise.
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Recommended grammar book
Links - Gradable / non-gradable adjectives
Links - Intensifiers
- ESL Gold - fairly basic
- Changing Minds.org - interesting discussion
- British Council
- About.com - adverbs intensifying verbs
- WSU Common Errors - a warning about vague usage
Links - Miscellaneous
Links - Videos
- Wonders of The Solar System - Professor Brian Cox documentary with spoof (parody) sound track - perfect expressive F-word usage.
- Eddie Izzard - Machines that lie - imaginative F-word usage.
- Catherine Tate - Foul mouthed granny (how not to do it!) (difficult dialogue)
- Lauren - Beyoncé - well nice, well fit