Linguistic Terms

Intensifiers in English

Intensifiers in English?

An intensifier is used to emphasize the meaning of the words that follow. They change the strength (or graduation) of the word or adjective. The most frequent intensifiers are  very, quite, too, so  and  such.Usually, they are placed before the words or phrases they modify.

Examples:

The chocolate ice-cream is sweet – The chocolate ice-cream is very sweet.

(Chocolate ice cream is sweet – Chocolate ice cream is very sweet).

Alice is pretty. Alice is so pretty.

(Alice is beautiful. Alice is very pretty)

1. Very

Very is used in front of most adjectives and adverbs and in front of few and little .

Examples:

She is a very beautiful girl (She is a very beautiful girl)

They dance very well (They dance very well)

There is very little sugar in my tea

There are very few people at the party.

Very cannot be used before adjectives or comparative adverbs. In this case you should use a lot .

2. Remove

Remove has two meanings depending on the adjective behind. If the adjective has degrees, that is, it describes a quality with different graduation (well, better) then it means a lot .

Example:

The chocolate cake is quite good (but the cheesecake is very good – The chocolate cake is not as good as the cheesecake)

[The chocolate cake is pretty good (but the cheesecake is very good. The chocolate cake is not as good as the cheesecake)]

* With adjectives that have no degrees, quite means completely.

Example:

The fish is quite dead (The fish is completely dead )

Remove can go in front of an adjective + name. If the name is singular and preceded by an article, remove is placed in front of the article.

Example:

She makes quite a good cake (She makes a pretty good cake)

She writes quite interesting stories (She writes quite interesting stories)

*   Quite can go in front of a few, a little, and a lot of .

Examples:

He has quite a lot of friends (He has many friends)

There are quite a few people here

3. Too

Too goes before an adjective or adverb. It usually has the meaning of “more than enough” or “more than necessary”.

Examples:

The food is too salty

She walks too fast (She walks too fast)

I am too tired to watch television (I’m too tired to watch television)

It is too cold for us to swim (It’s too cold for us to swim) 

Too can also go in front of much, many, few and little .

Example:

We have too much work.

Much can be used in front of too much to give greater emphasis before an adjective or an adverb.

Examples:

The soup is much too hot

He works much too slowly (He works too slowly)

4. So

So it is used before adjectives that are not followed by names. It is also used to adverbs and before much or many that they can be followed by names.

Examples:

Sheila is so pretty (Sheila is very pretty)

Dan eats so fast (Dan eats very fast)

I love him so much (I love him so much)

There are so many exercises in this book (There are many exercises in this book)

5. Such

Such is used before a name or before a name + adjective. When the name is singular and preceded by an article, such is placed in front of the article. For example:

Larry is such a fool (Larry is very dumb)

That was such an interesting movie (That was a very interesting movie)

They are such polite children

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