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.
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 less
strong we use:
A BIT/ A LITTLE
The exercise is a bit /a little difficult.
It’s a bit of a difficult exercise.
(a bit of a /an + NP=Noun Phrase)
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!”
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
◊Absolutely cannot be used with all
In some cases, completely, totally or
utterly are preferred.
E.g. completely different, totally crazy,
To weaken ungradable
We can use almost, nearly,
practically, virtually .
E.g.:The tank is almost empty.
The two vases are virtually identical.
The beach was a bit empty.
The beach was absolutely empty.
Some adjectives can be gradable or
ungradable depending on the context.
Really and quite
These adverbs can usually be used
together with both gradable and
The meaning of quite changes:
• Quite warm/ quite a warm place (gradable=
• Quite certain (ungradable= completely,