What Are Intensifiers and Mitigators?
Intensifiers and Mitigators: Placement
Intensifiers are adverbs that make the meaning of another word (usually an adjective) stronger. Some of the most common intensifiers are:
- Do not use intensifiers with non-gradable adjectives.
- Avoid using intensifiers in writing.
Some adverbs are neither an intensifier nor a mitigator. They act as a moderator and are relative based on the speaker's opinion. Such as:
'Enough' is a special kind of moderator that comes after the adverbs and adjectives.
This house isn't big
We didn't leave early
'That' as a Moderator
We can use 'that' as a moderator. We put it in front of adjectives or adverbs to modify their meaning.
We use "that + adjectives/adverbs" usually in negative sentences. For example:
+'Have you met Mary. She's the nicest person.' - 'She's not
It means the second person doesn't think she is as nice as they are saying.
My lunch wasn't
'That' in this usage has an additional stress in spoken language.
'This' as a Moderator
'This' can act as a moderator that modifies an adjective or another adverb. It is often used in negative spoken statements.
We use "this + adjective/adverb/much" usually in negatives and questions.
I have not felt
In spoken English, 'this' can also be used with a hand gesture to show how big or small something is or how much of something there is.
The strange animal was about
Difference between This and That as Adverbs
'This' and 'that' both can be used as moderators. The difference between them is that when we use 'this' we are usually talking about a current or recent situation.
I need a box
He didn't expect to wait
However, when we use 'that' we are talking about a past situation. It can also mean we had some expectations in mind, but that expectation was not met.
I know you like her, but she's not
I just had lunch at McCarran's. It wasn't
Mitigators are the opposite of intensifiers. We use mitigators to make adjectives, verbs or adverbs less strong. Some of the most common mitigators are:
- a bit
- a little
Take a look at some examples:
Intensifiers and mitigators are words that are used before another term to make them stronger or weaker respectively. Remember intensifiers and mitigators usually come before the words, unless there is an exception like the intensifier: 'enough'.
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