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Go Natural English Podcast | Listening & Speaking Lessons


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Jan 11, 2020

Intensifiers -- Americans love to sound exciting and interesting by using intensifiers. Yes, they can be overused, but I notice that many English learners don’t use them at all! The English students I have who DO use them sound much more natural and native-like. 

 

Intensifiers you probably already know include:

So

Really

Very

 

And also we can use more interesting words instead of simply re-using these 3 basic words over and over.

 

Very big = enormous

Very small = tiny

Very smart = brilliant

Very bad = awful, horrible, dreadful

Very sure = certain

Very good = excellent, amazing, awesome

Very tasty = delicious

 

Examples:

  1. Your house is very big → enormous
  2. My apartment is very small → tiny
  3. You are very smart → brilliant
  4. This movie is very bad → awful
  5. I’m very sure I left my keys on the table → I’m certain
  6. This book is very good → excellent
  7. This food is very tasty → delicious

 

We can also add more interesting intensifiers before the better vocabulary words:

  • Absolutely
  • Awfully*
  • Completely
  • Exceptionally
  • Particularly
  • Quite
  • Totally
  • Dangerously
  • highly



You’ll notice that often, certain intensifiers are paired with specific vocabulary words, for example:



Absolutely dreadful, horrible, delicious

Absolutely amazing, incredible, wonderful, fantastic, brilliant

Awfully good, interesting

Completely exhausted

Exceptionally intelligent

Particularly helpful

Quite certain

Totally crazy

Dangerously fast

Highly dangerous

 

Remember these pairings, called collocations! You’ll sound much more native-like. We can mix them up in different combinations too, but those are really common and easy to memorize and start using.

 

Examples

 

  1. Your house is very big → absolutely enormous
  2. My apartment is very small → awfully tiny
  3. You are very smart → totally brilliant
  4. This movie is very bad → completely awful
  5. I’m very sure I left my keys on the table → I’m quite certain
  6. This book is very good → particularly excellent
  7. This food is very tasty → dangerously delicious

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