Strong adjectives and intensifiers

Strong adjectives and intensifiersOn this page, we will look at strong adjectives and intensifiers. At a basic level, we use words like very, really or extremely can be used to make adjectives stronger. These are called intensifiers. Let’s start by looking at a table:

Basic adjective
That’s an interesting story.
Basic adjective with basic intensifier That’s a very interesting story.
Basic adjective with 2 basic intensifiers That’s a very, very interesting story.

Using repeated intensifiers is acceptable in informal conversations, but not in writing or in formal situations. To make the sentence even stronger, we need to use different adjectives that are more extreme (known as ‘strong adjectives‘).

Here are some examples of basic and strong adjectives

Basic adjective Strong adjective
Interesting Fascinating
Beautiful Stunning / Gorgeous
Big Huge / enormous
Small Tiny
Hot Boiling
Cold Freezing
Good Excellent / fantastic / superb
Bad Awful / terrible / disgusting
Clean Spotless
Dirty Filthy
Angry Furious
Old Ancient
Funny Hilarious
Hungry Starving
Scared Terrified
Surprising Astounding
Tired Exhausted
Ugly Hideous
Happy Thrilled

Now we can add another row to our table using strong adjectives.

Basic adjective
That’s an interesting story.
Basic adjective with basic intensifier That’s a very interesting story.
Basic adjective with 2 basic intensifiers That’s a very, very interesting story.
Strong adjective
That’s a fascinating story.

From this point, we can continue making our sentence even more extreme, but we generally don’t use strong adjectives with basic intensifiers. For example, this sentence is not correct:

That’s a very fascinating story.

To make sentences with strong adjectives more extreme, we now need to use an extreme intensifier. Here’s a list of the most common extreme intensifiers.

  • absolutely
  • extremely
  • exceptionally
  • incredibly
  • totally
  • completely
  • utterly

Now we can add the final row to the table, where a strong adjective is used with an extreme intensifier.

Basic adjective
That’s an interesting story.
Basic adjective with basic intensifier That’s a very interesting story.
Basic adjective with 2 basic intensifiers That’s a very, very interesting story.
Strong adjective
That’s a fascinating story.
Strong adjective with extreme intensifier
That’s an utterly fascinating story.