Quite, fairly, pretty, rather, very, really, extremely, immensely, incredibly (and less often terribly) or slightly

Obviously you cant use these adverbs at random, as each has its own degree of intensity, and sometimes a combination of one of these words with a particular adjective may simply sound wrong pretty pleasant or incredibly pleased sound a little strange.

  • Its quite hot today -- especially for the beginning of April.
  • Its fairly certain were going to go to New York at Easter.
  • Janes pretty good at maths, actually -- especially with a calculator in her hand!
  • Something very strange happened at the weekend.
  • Peter is really interested in child psychology -- well, he does have three sons!
  • The boss is extremely angry with Montse -- she completely forgot to book his flight to Zurich!
  • Their flat is beautiful, but it was incredibly expensive, I think.

But some adjectives are already extreme or absolute -- they express a quality which cannot really have differing degrees. For example, something cant be a bit impossible -- its either impossible or not!


Other words like this are:

great, wonderful, brilliant, amazing, amazed, awful, appalled, brilliant, convinced, dedicated, delightful, determined, devastated, dreadful, enormous, exhausted, exorbitant, extraordinary, filthy, furious, huge, impossible, incompetent, incomprehensible, incredible, invaluable, livid, marvellous, ridiculous, terrible, terrified, true, wonderful, unacceptable, unrecognisable, unsuitable, useless

So, if we want to emphasize qualities like these, we have to use extreme adverbs, too!

We can use quite in the sense of completely, though it is not colloquial.

However, more normal words to use are:

absolutely, completely, utterly, totally, entirely, simply

again, we cannot use every adverb with every adjective -- for example, we can say absolutely great but not really anything else. With experience, you will recognise many other adjectives which are absolute or ungradable. A lot of negative adjectives are, by their nature, of this kind.

  • I think Pavarotti was an absolutely wonderful singer, dont you?
  • Shes totally dedicated to her family, now. She always puts them first in everything.
  • Thats a completely ridiculous idea, Stuart. You cant take children that young on safari!
  • He arrived home utterly exhausted -- a 12-hour delay in Hong Kong, his suitcase missing in Barajas, nearly two hours in the taxi completely shattered!
  • Shes a quite delightful person once you get to know her.
  • Its utterly incomprehensible to me why they promoted Bill and not Ben.
  • Theyre asking an absolutely exorbitant price for that flat -- but I bet they manage to sell it!
  • Im afraid hes still completely obsessed with the idea of moving out of the capital and into some small village miles from anywhere!
  • The tidal-wave had an absolutely enormous impact on the insurance market.

Of course, you cant use all these adverbs with every non-gradable adjective, and again, experience will tell you which combinations are right and which are wrong. You can use absolutely with most of them. Try and note combinations that you hear or read. One way is to say them aloud: if they sound wrong to you, they probably are!

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2. Uk Court personnel: judiciary, officials, juries | Vocabulary. Vocabulary vice (n) opp

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