- “You have a nice smile.”
- “You have an absolutely stunning smile.”
Which one of these phrases is more interesting?
Well, they’re both nice compliments, but the second one “an absolutely stunning smile” is much more interesting, advanced, and creative.
This is the kind of English that you should know if you’d like to speak like a native English speaker and sound more interesting.
In this English lesson today, we are going to learn how to improve your vocabulary with intensifiers. If you’ve been learning English and you feel like you’re stuck, like maybe you keep repeating the same vocabulary words over and over, but you’d like to add more interesting ways to express yourself and to impress other English speakers, so, this article today is for you.
After this lesson about intensifiers, you are certainly going to sound more natural, more native-like, and more interesting in English.
So, let’s begin!
Table of Contents
Why should we learn more intensifiers?
As English learners, we often love using intensifiers such as “so”, “really”, “very”. These words can be overused in English conversations, and when watching American TV shows, you might feel like Americans are saying all the time that “Everything is so great, and really awesome, and very amazing”.
But, this is only partly true. Of course, these words can be very commonly used, but these also remain many ways that help we express ourselves. And so, if you are wanting to speak more like a native English speaker, we highly recommend that you pepper your English with more intensifiers. It also makes you more likeable, because when people know that you’re excited about something, that is interesting to most people and they want to know what you’re excited about.
We already said three of the most common intensifiers that you’re probably familiar with, and you’ve probably already learned: “so”, “very” and “really”.
“This is so interesting. This is really interesting. This is very interesting”.
These are three basic intensifiers, and they can be overused quite easily. Hence, in order to avoid overusing these common intensifiers, today we’re gonna talk about more advanced, and more interesting intensifiers.
What is an intensifier?
However, to learn thoroughly about this today, we should understand clearly about the definition of intensifiers.
Actually, an intensifier is a little word, like “so”, “really”, or “very, that makes the adjective more intense, as well as more dramatic. It gives the adjective more emphasis.
We can use “so”, “really” and “very” interchangeably. Especially, with the more advanced intensifiers, we can use them interchangeably but we are going to teach you some pairings, or collocations that usually go together that will help you to sound more native-like. And these pairings are really helpful and practical to memorize and to start using, because this is the way that natives speak. So, you really want to copy these collocations.
Now, we will talk about how to transform a regular adjective and a boring regular intensifier like “so”, “very”, or “really” into a more interesting intensifier?
Let’s learn seven of the most common, most useful intensifiers, besides “so”, “really”, and “very, which can be used interchangeably.
Make sure with these more advanced intensifiers, you are looking them up in the dictionary to check their pronunciations. Some of them are a bit long and more difficult to pronounce than the simpler intensifiers and shorter adjectives.
7 Common And Useful Intensifiers
- Instead of saying very big, say enormous
- Instead of saying very small, say tiny
- Instead of saying very smart, say brilliant
- Instead of saying very bad, say awful, dreadful, or horrible
- Instead of saying very sure, say certain
- Instead of saying very good or very nice, say awesome, excellent, or amazing
- Instead of saying very tasty, say delicious
Now, we highly recommend you not try to memorize individual vocabulary words in a list without any full sentence examples. Use the above mentioned words to express ourselves in full sentences. So below are some examples for you. We’re going to transform basic, boring intensifiers and adjectives into more advanced, interesting adjectives.
- Your house is very big => Your house is enormous
- My apartment is very small => My apartment is tiny
- You are very smart => You’re brilliant
- This movie is very bad =>This movie is awful
- I’m sure I left my keys on the table => I’m certain I left my keys on the table
- This book is very good => This book is excellent
- This food is very tasty =>This food is delicious
Now, we can also add some more interesting intensifiers before our more advanced vocabulary words. Things are going to get interesting. We can use these more interesting intensifiers instead of ‘really’, ‘so’, and ‘very’ before the more advanced adjective. Let’s learn the intensifiers first and then we will share examples with both the more interesting, advanced intensifiers and adjectives.
9 Advanced Intensifiers
As you listen to more native English speakers, you’ll notice that certain intensifiers are often paired with certain adjectives. This is called a collocation , or words that are commonly seen and heard together. They’re just like best friends. So let’s look at some of following collocations so that we can start to associate them together.
- Absolutely: Absolutely dreadful; absolutely horrible; absolutely delicious; absolutely wonderful; absolutely amazing; absolutely incredible; absolutely brilliant.
- Awfully: Awfully good; awfully interesting.
- Completely: Completely exhausted.
- Exceptionally: Exceptionally intelligent.
- Particularly: Particularly helpful; particularly interesting.
- Quite: Quite certain.
- Totally: Totally crazy.
- Dangerously: Dangerously fast; dangerously delicious.
- Highly: Highly dangerous; highly intelligent.
Try to remember these pairings called collocations. You will find it easier to remember words together when you think about them as pairs or as friends. It’s also easier to start using them and sound more natural when you know which words naturally go together.
Actually, we can mix them up and use different intensifiers with different adjectives. However, the above mentioned ones are more common collocation, and to a native English speakers ear, you will sound better when you use these common collocations. So now let’s look at some examples in full sentences:
- Your house is very big => Your house is absolutely enormous.
- My apartment is very small=> My apartment is awfully tiny.
- You are very smart => You are totally brilliant / You are highly intelligent.
- This movie is very bad =>This movie is completely awful / This movie is completely horrible.
- I’m sure I left my keys on the table => I’m quite certain I left my keys on the table.
- This book is very good => This book is particularly excellent / This book is particularly interesting.
- This dessert is very tasty => This dessert is dangerously delicious.
Now, can you think of more examples using more advanced intensifiers and adjectives? We would love to see more examples in the comments so that we can help each other to improve our spoken English.
We are so excited to be helping you to speak English more confidently, and to express yourself with enthusiasm, as well as to enjoy English every day. In order to get further explanation and practice your listening skills also, watch the video below. Thank you for reading and see you in the next writing!
Credit: Youtube Channel “Go Natural English”