Unit 10.1

Intensifiers and Mitigators

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

Intensifiers and mitigators are part of adverbs of degree.

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 intensifiers and mitigators.

Intensifiers

The most commonly used are: absolutelyhighly, incrediblyparticularlysoutterly

Mitigators

The most commonly used are: fairlypretty (informal), ratherslightly

Example

Intensifiers:

  • It is absolutely impossible to beat you at poker.
  • Crocodiles are highly dangerous.
  • He came incredibly close to winning the election.
  • These drawings are particularly good.
  • He was so helpful.
  • The view is utterly beautiful.

Mitigators:

  • 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.

Use

We use intensifiers to make words and expressions stronger.

We use mitigators to make words and expressions weaker.

Summary

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: absolutelyhighly, incrediblyparticularlysoutterly

The most commonly used mitigators are: fairlyprettyratherslightly

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.

Exercises