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#37 | Adverbs on Intensity | very, really, pretty, fairly


Pete discusses how beautiful a new flatmate is using adverbs of intensity.

Pete: So, tell me Kate, what’s this new flatmate of yours like? I heard she's beautiful.

Kate: Yeah, she's really beautiful actually, in a very natural way. She has lovely long brown hair and her skin is so smooth. But I thought you weren't interested in looks, that personality was important.

Pete: Well, true. So, so why don’t you tell me what she's like then.

Kate: Well, actually she's very serious. She spends a lot of time reading and she really loves talking about politics. Not your type at all Pete.

Pete: What do you mean?

Kate: Well, you're a good laugh Pete. I can’t see you spending hours debating who should be President.

Pete: Well yeah, I guess that's probably true.

Grammar Notes

Point 1: We can use adverbs before adjectives to modify them.
  1. Shanghai is very crowded.
  2. I am fairly good at tennis.
Point 2: Note the relative strength of modification.
  1. Extremely expensive           Expensive +++           Most
  2. Very expensive
  3. Really expensive
  4. Fairly/Pretty expensive
  5. Expensive                            Neutral
  6. Not very expensive
  7. Not expensive                      Fairly cheap
  8. Cheap                                  Cheap                          Least
Point 3: 'Too' indicates more than you want, need or like.
  1. I can’t afford that watch because it is too expensive.
  2. Man U are too good, so Carlisle will never beat them.
Point 4: 'Too' is often used with negative adjectives to create a more positive feel.
  1. That curry looks great and it isn’t too expensive.
  2. The opposition aren’t too good for us today.
Answer these questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
too • not very • extremely • cheap • expensive
  1. Diamonds are very .
  2. He drives fast for me to ever ride in his car.
  3. Those plastic rings are so .
  4. He is clever. He must be a genius.
  5. Tom is good at pool. He always loses.