Intensifying Adjectives

It makes perfectly sense.

intensifying adjectivesDo you see a mistake in the above sentence? You should! The phrase ‘makes sense‘ often collocates (or is frequently used with ) with the intensifying adjectives perfect, total and complete. Because these words describe a noun – sense – we should use an adjective and not an adverb to describe them. This is a famous mistake I’ve heard a lot since living in Germany.

Other examples

  • It makes complete sense.  (NOT It makes completely sense.)
  • It makes total sense. (NOT It makes totally sense.)

Hopefully now you can say these sentences perfectly!

Grammar point – intensifying adjectives

Adjectives can have various functions in a sentence. One function can be to act as intensifiers for nouns, like in the examples above. An intensifier makes something stronger. Some common adjectives that intensify nouns are:

absolute perfect
complete real
total utter



  • The interview turned out to be a total disaster.
  • That makes absolute sense.
  • I’ve never heard such complete and utter nonsense!
  • Sarah has come through for me many times. She’s a real friend.
  • The book was a perfect distraction for me so that I could forget about the news for awhile.