Are these sentences right or wrong?
Now keep reading and check your answers at the end.
Have a look at this list of adjectives:
furious = very angry
enormous / huge = very big
tiny = very small
freezing = very cold
boiling = very hot
fascinating = very interesting
delighted = very pleased
terrified = very scared
spotless = very clean
filthy = very dirty
hideous = very ugly
gorgeous = very beautiful
starving = very hungry
ancient = very old
exhausted = very tired
delicious = very tasty
awful / terrible = very bad
brilliant = very good
astonished = very surprised
hilarious = very funny
Strong and normal adjectives
The adjectives on the right (angry, big, small etc) are called normal or gradable adjectives. "Gradable" means that there are different levels. So somebody can be different levels of angry, for example. It's possible to be a little angry, quite angry, very angry or extremely angry.
The adjectives on the left (furious, enormous, tiny etc) are called strong, extreme or ungradable adjectives. There is only one possible level because they are already strong. It's NOT possible to be a little furious. However, you can say "absolutely furious".
Adverbs which you can use for normal adjectives: a bit, a little, slightly, fairly, quite, rather, very, really, extremely.
For example: a bit cold, slightly surprised, quite hot, very big, extremely angry
We are more likely to use "a bit" and "slightly" without negative adjectives. For example:
You CAN say "a bit dirty" but you CAN'T say "a bit clean".
Adverbs which you can use with strong adjectives: absolutely, really.
For example: really fascinating, absolutely exhausted
Notice that you can use "really" with any adjective, normal or strong.
You CAN say "very"
One more thing. Have you seen all those posts on social media which tell you not to say “very big” or "very cold" and so on? It's not true! I would agree that strong adjectives make your writing more interesting. Also, if you have an exam and want to show that you know a good range of vocabulary, use the stronger ones. In conversation though, you will hear both types. It isn't wrong to use "very". However, you shouldn't overuse it in writing. It's good to use more variety of vocabulary.
If you would like to know how to improve your vocabulary and how to remember new words more easily, this e-book is for you:
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