Adverbs of Degree for intermediate learners

Adverbs of degree are mostly used before adjectives, adverbs, and verbs to intensify the term after them.

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"Adverbs of Degree" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Degree?

When we want to show the degree or the intensity of something, we use the adverbs of degree. They are usually made to answer questions such as 'how much' and 'to what degree'.

Common Adverbs of Degree

Some common adverbs of degree are as follows:

  • Hardly
  • Completely
  • Very
  • Slightly
  • Absolutely
  • Entirely
  • Most
  • Pretty
  • Quite
  • Too

How Do We Use Them in Sentences?

When we want to use adverbs of degree in sentences, we can use either of the four structures below:

Amber is totally done with you.

Well, you should absolutely look into it.

As you can see, the adverb of degree is modifying the verb.

This house looks really luxurious.

As you can see, the adverb of degree is modifying an adjective.

I want you to run a bit quickly.

Here, the adverb of degree is modifying another adverb.

I would rather stay in than to go to a party with the people I hate.

You could almost be dead by now!

  • After the auxiliary verbs have and be

I had completely forgotten about that project.

It is totally going to cost you a great deal of money.

Types of Adverbs of Degree

In English, we have two types of adverbs of degree. Let us learn more about them below:

Intensifiers

When we want to put more force on the action in a statement, in other words, make it stronger, we use intensifiers. Below is a list of common intensifiers in English:

  • Really
  • Very
  • Extremely
  • Absolutely
  • Totally

Now, let us learn how to use them by studying the examples below:

When I told her the terrible news, she was completely devastated.

As you can see, the adverb of degree is emphasizing how difficult the situation had been for the woman.

Does Angie really think that I don't care about her?

Warning!

Please note that the intensifiers that we use for gradable adjectives are different from those of ungradable adjectives due to the fact that gradable adjectives can be measured, whereas ungradable adjectives cannot. Compare the following examples carefully:

The weather is very hot today.

Everything is totally free here.

As you can see, we cannot say something is 'a bit free' or 'a lot free' because it is a fixed state.

Mitigators

When we want to weaken an action in a statement, we use the mitigating adverbs of degree. Clearly, they do the exact opposite of what intensifiers do. Let us get familiar with some common mitigators in English:

  • A bit
  • Slightly
  • Hardly
  • Barely

Now, let us learn how we can use these downtoners in sentences:

She could barely walk after the incident.

As you can see, the sentence is suggesting that the person was not able to walk that much.

Could you read a bit slower? I can't follow you.

Tip!

It is useful to know that 'very' and 'too' can differ a little in usage. Although both are intensifiers and both come before an adverb or an adjective, 'too' has a negative impact on the word it modifies. Let us study the following examples:

The party was very fun.

Here, the sentence shows that the person has enjoyed the party greatly.

The party was too fun.

In this case, the sentence shows that something happened in the party that brought about an unwanted result.

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