We can use extreme adjectives to describe something when regular adjectives don’t really do the trick. This post will look at gradable and non-gradable adjectives.
An adjective is a word that describes the characteristics of a noun. Gradable adjectives are able to be measured to varying degrees. Modifiers, adverbs in this case, are used to make them stronger or weaker. Most adjectives are gradable. Examples of modifiers for non-gradable adjectives are a little, a bit, pretty, quite, really, very and extremely.
Non-gradable adjectives are considered to be unmeasurable and describe absolute qualities. The only way to make them stronger is to add adverbs such as absolutely, utterly, totally and completely. Non-gradable adjectives are also called extreme adjectives.
The adverbs really and pretty can be used to modify both gradable and non-gradable adjectives.
Below is a table showing gradable and non-gradable adjectives with modifiers.
modifiers: a little, a bit, pretty, really, quite, very, extremely
modifiers: absolutely, utterly, totally, completely (pretty/really)
I’m very tired./I’m completely exhausted.
The movie was quite interesting./The movie was absolutely fascinating.
I’m pretty sure we will win./I’m totally positive we will win.