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    Learn Courses Intermediate level Comparative superlative Intensifiers and mitigators

"My cousin is REALLY handsome but he's A BIT lazy". In this sentence the intensifier is "really" and the mitigator is "a bit". We use them to increase or decrease the strength of the adjective. Learn more below.

Intensifiers and mitigators are used to vary the degree or strength of an adjective, verb or adverb.


1. Intensifiers add strength or force to the meaning of an adjective.

  very,   really,   extremely,   amazingly,   exceptionally,
  incredibly,   remarkably,   particularly,   enough…


 Kate is really beautiful.
 Michael can run very fast.
 Sharks are extremely dangerous.
 The restaurant was remarkably empty for a Saturday.
 It’s incredibly kind of you to help.
Note: “Enough” can be used as an intensifier, but be careful, as “enough” is found after the adjective it modifies.


 Dan is not old enough to vote.
 My sister isn’t tall enough to ride on the roller coaster.

2. When we want to indicate that something or someone is exceptional, we can use strong adjectives.

  enormous,   terrible,   tiny,   excellent,   brilliant,   perfect,

As these strong adjectives already indicate an extreme (“enormous” = “very big”), we do not use the intensifier “very”. As an intensifier with strong adjectives, we generally use: “absolutely”, “exceptionally”, “particularly”, “really” or “quite”.


 Their house is absolutely enormous.
 Her son is exceptionally brilliant.
 The dinner you made last night was really marvelous.
Note: Some intensifiers may only be used with particular adjectives.


 dangerously ill
 dangerously fast
 seriously injured
 seriously damaged
 highly successful
 highly intelligent
 bitterly disappointed
 bitterly cold

3. With comparative adjectives we use particular words or phrases as intensifiers.

  much,   a lot,   a great deal,   a good bit…


 Dave is much faster than me.
 My brother is a lot taller than my father.

4. With superlative adjectives we use the following:

  easily,   by far


 Paul is by far the most intelligent person I know.
 Her essay was easily the longest in the class.


1. While intensifiers strengthen the meaning of an adjective, mitigators make them less strong.

  fairly,   rather,   quite,   pretty


 The movie was fairly boring.
 The students were rather quiet in class.
 It’s a pretty nice day.

Note: “Pretty” is used in more informal English.

2. With comparative adjectives we use the following words and phrases as mitigators:

  a bit,   rather,   a little bit,   slightly


 Dave is a bit faster than me.
 My brother is slightly taller than my father.
Previous lesson Adjectives Ending in "-ed" and "-ing"
Next lesson Comparative Adverbs
Intensifiers and Mitigators Listen to Lesson