58 Intensifiers and Mitigators


Adverbs are expressions that function as modifiers of other elements in the clause. They can provide a wide range of information.

Adverbs of degree are used to provide information about the intensity of an action or adjective {see Adverbs of Degree, A1 Level}.

Intensifiers and mitigators are part of adverbs of degree.



The most commonly used are: highly, absolutely, so, utterly, incredibly, particularly


The most commonly used are: fairly, pretty (informal), rather, slightly

{See Adverbs of Degree, A2 Level}.



  • The climate was highly dry.
  • It is absolutely impossible to win at most carnival games.
  • He was so helpful.
  • The view is utterly beautiful.
  • We came incredibly close to falling off the stairs.
  • These drawings are particularly good.


  • These crystals are fairly bright.
  • The view was pretty good, but not breathtaking.
  • I’m rather bored.
  • It is slightly expensive, but I’m still going to buy it.


Intensifiers are used to make words and expressions stronger.

Mitigators are used to make words and expressions weaker.


Intensifiers and mitigators are two kinds of adverbs of degree. We use intensifiers to emphasise words or expressions, and mitigators to make the emphasis on these words and expressions not as strong.

The most commonly used intensifiers are: highly, absolutely, soincredibly, utterly, particularly

The most commonly used mitigators are: fairly, pretty, rather, slightly

For example:
— “I am absolutely sure he is lying.” = There is a high chance that he is lying, so we use an intensifier.
— “I am fairly sure that he is lying.” = It is a low possibility that he is lying, so we use a mitigator.

Let’s revise this content within the {Form} section. Take a look at the {Example} section that shows its use within a context.

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