Gradable Adjectives Gradable adjectives represent a point on a scale. For example, cheap and expensive are adjectives on the scale of “how much something costs” . Most English adjectives are gradable. We can make comparative and superlative forms from all gradable adjectives.
Intensifying gradableadjectives: We can make gradable adjectives stronger using very, but not absolutely. There are other adverbs we can use to strengthen the meaning of these adjectives: Extremely, rather, hugely, terribly, incredibly, remarkably, …
To make gradable adjectives lessstrong we use: A BIT/ A LITTLEThe exercise is a bit /a little difficult.It’s a bit of a difficult exercise. (a bit of a /an + NP=Noun Phrase) slightly
Ungradable adjectives They indicate extreme or absolute qualities.They represent the limits of a scale. E.g. : brilliant, correct, disastrous, exhausted, furious, identical, perfect, unique, etc. We don’t usually make comparison with these adjectives, althoughnthere are some patterns we use in spoken English: “That was the most delicious meal!”
Intensifying ungradableadjectives: A common way to intensify these adjectives is with the adverb absolutely. E.g.: They were absolutely furious. Sometimes we to use other adverbs such as completely, totally and utterly: E.g.: He was completely wrong Harry is totally deaf because of an accident The party was utterly disastrous
Ungradable adjectives◊Absolutely cannot be used with all ungradable adjectives. In some cases, completely, totally or utterly are preferred. E.g. completely different, totally crazy, utterly miserable
To weaken ungradableadjectives: We can use almost, nearly, practically, virtually .E.g.:The tank is almost empty. The two vases are virtually identical.
Compare The beach was a bit empty. The beach was absolutely empty. Some adjectives can be gradable or ungradable depending on the context.
Really, fairly, pretty and quiteThese adverbs can usually be usedtogether with both gradable andungradable adjectives.The meaning of quite changes:• Quite warm/ quite a warm place (gradable= rather)• Quite certain (ungradable= completely, absolutely)