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Gradable Adjectives, Intensifiers & Strong Adjectives

Intensifiers are used before adjectives as adverb to make them more emphatic. Example: big, somewhat big, pretty big, very big, and incredibly big. These intensifiers are of three kinds which are as follows. High Intensifiers (adverbs) include:- absolutely, completely, entirely, exceptionally, extremely, fully, highly, insanely, incredibly, perfectly, totally, unbelievably, utterly, very much. Medium Intensifier include:- almost, particularly, pretty, quite, rather, really, unusually, very. Low Intensifier includes:- mildly, relatively, somewhat


However instead of emphasising an adjective with intensifier, we can use a stronger adjective. For example ‘huge’ can replace ‘very big’. Once we use the adjective ‘huge’, it is incorrect to intensify it with ‘very’ and write ‘very huge’. Accordingly strong adjectives need not be further intensified with ‘very/pretty/unusually/ mildly/ particularly/relatively/ somewhat’. We call adjectives like ‘big’ as base adjective which are gradable and comparable. Apart from using intensifiers like ‘very’, we can also use the term ‘bigger’ and ‘biggest’ or more/less/most/least ‘intelligent’.

Just as intensifier ‘very’ is not used for strong adjectives, high intensity adjectives are not used with base/ gradable adjectives. For example we do not say ‘absolutely/incredibly big’. However, strong adjectives can take high intensifiers. For example it is correct to say ‘incredibly/insanely/extremely huge/enormous/gigantic monster/skyscraper/statue/ star/ galaxy/monolith’. It is also customary to use mild intensifiers ‘really/quite’ with strong adjectives.

‘quite’ can mean fairly as in ‘quite sleepy/boring’ or completely as in ‘quite certain’. ‘pretty’ is usually milder than ‘quite’ which is less emphatic than ‘very’. Example: somewhat sure<pretty sure<quite sure<very sure.

‘quite a/the/some’ is special in its use to express emphasis. Examples: for quite some time, quite a collection of shoes/stamps/coins/paintings, quite an achievement, the medicine had quite the opposite effect


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