Unit 9.1

Adverbs of Degree


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Introduction

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

Adverbs of degree or intensifiers are used to provide information about the intensity of an action or adjective.

Form

Adverbs of degree are usually positioned after the auxiliary verbs to be or to have, or before other verbs or the words they modify. They can be regular or irregular.

Regular

In most cases we obtain regular adverbs of degree by adding -ly to the adjectives. For example:

Adjective Adverb
bare barely
real really
total totally
complete completely
absolute absolutely

Irregular

There are various exceptions of the formation of adverbs of degree, so we don’t follow the same rule and simply maintain the same form of the adjective. For example:

Adjective Adverb
almost almost
enough enough
too too
very very
quite quite

Example

Regular:

  • They barely know each other.
  • We are really angry about the noise.
  • It is totally worth it!
  • You are completely wrong!
  • She has absolutely nothing to drink.

Irregular:

  • I almost spilt the orange juice.
  • I think you had enough wine.
  • This bag of potatoes is too heavy.
  • We are very thirsty.
  • You have quite a shopping list here.

Use

We use adverbs of degree to show the intensity of an action, adjective or another adverb.

Summary

Adverbs of degree give information about the intensity of an action, adjective or another adverb. They are usually positioned after the auxiliary verbs and before other verbs or the words they modify.

They are formed by adding -ly to the adjective (barely, really, totally, completely, absolutely…).

For example:
— “Absolute” ⇒ “I absolutely agree with you.” = It shows the intensity of the action.
“Real” ⇒ “I am really happy right now.” = It shows the intensity of the adjective.

Some adverbs of degree are irregular and simply maintain the same form of the adjective (almost, enough, too, very, quite…).

For example:
“Almost” ⇒ “She almost drank it all.”

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

Exercises

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