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Gradable and ungradable adjectives

WHY SHOULD WE BE INTERESTED IN WHETHER ADJECTIVES ARE GRADABLE OR NOT?


1. To decide what intensifiers, adverbs like quite, very and absolutely, we can use before them.

2. To learn some strong versions of gradable adjectives will increase your vocabulary and make your English more varied and interesting.

Gradable- can be graded or given different degrees on a sliding scale. FOR EXAMPLE: TIRED
Non-gradable - can be divided into two types: Strong or Extreme adjectives - stronger equivalents of gradable adjectives. FOR EXAMPLE: EXHAUSTED Absolute adjectives- they are either true or not true, there is no middle ground. FOR EXAMPLE: UNIQUE.

Gradable, strong or absolute?


Decide which category these adjectives fit into, using the selectors.

1. Surprised 2. Furious 3. True 4. Astonished 5. Friendly 6. Impossible 7. Perfect 8. Ridiculous 9. Important 10. Awful 11. Popular 12. Overjoyed

Gradable Strong Absolute Strong Gradable Absolute Absolute Strong Gradable Strong Gradable Strong

Why do we use intensifiers with non-gradable adjectives?

Grading adverbs such as quite, very and extremely are used to put an adjective somewhere on a scale. quite tired very popular extremely cold
But absolute and strong adjectives cannot be given a degree like this. When we use intensifiers likeabsolutely, completely and totally, we are using them for emphasis rather then degree. completely exhausted absolutely right totally unique

Match the gradable adjectives on the left with their strong equivalents on the right
1. bad 2. beautiful 3. big 4. clean 5. clever 6. cold 7. dirty 8. funny 9. good 10. hot 11. important 12. lovable 13. old 14. poor 15. silly 16. small 17. sure 18. tasty 19. ugly 20. wet a delicious b tiny c spotless d filthy e huge f excellent g terrible h essential I hideous j destitute k soaking l boiling m certain n ridiculous o hilarious p ancient q adorable r freezing s brilliant t gorgeous

Match the gradable adjectives on the left with their strong equivalents on the right

Match the gradable adjectives on the left with their strong equivalents on the right

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

angry embarrassed excited frightened happy hungry interested pleased shocked surprised tired upset

a b c d e f g h I j k l

ecstatic starving astonished exhausted thrilled mortified delighted fascinated devastated furious horrified terrified

MANY GRADABLE ADJECTIVES HAVE MORE THAN ONE STRONG EQUIVALENT. LEARNING SOME ALTERNATIVES WILL INCREASE YOUR VOCABULARY.

Exercise: Divide these adjectives into six groups of four, according to meaning. You can copy and paste them into the six boxes.
Ecstatic elated Enormous euphoric Flabbergasted gargantuan huge Immense Lilliputian infinitesimal Minute marvellous Miniscule Overjoyed stupefied stupendous Terrible Terrific Thrilled Trifling tiny Tremendous vast wonderful
HUGE IMMENSE ENORMOUS TINY MINISCULE MINUTE LILLIPUTIAN MARVELLOUS TERRIFIC WONDERFUL STUPENDOUS ECSTATIC STUPEFIED EUPHORIC