Can YOU Use Intensifiers in English?

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Level: Intermediate    Reading Time: 6 minutes    Category: Vocabulary

In the last lesson, we talked about quantifiers (and common mistakes people make with them) to talk about an amount or quantity of something. This is really useful when speaking English.

Most learners also know they can connect those words with intensifiers. This is also really useful in English. 

However, the new combinations can be tricky to get right if you are not 100% on the meaning and way to use them.

Don’t worry though, in this lesson we will talk about intensifiers, what they mean and how you can use them to speak confidently in English!

Why are Intensifiers important?

Intensifiers are really useful in English.

[bctt tweet=”We use intensifiers to emphasise or stress the adjective or adverb. This helps us express ourselves more naturally.” username=”dansensei_”]

We are able to express ideas that can be pretty complex by adding an intensifier to the sentence. For example:

  • This coffee is hot to the point that I am unable to drink it. = This coffee is too hot.

 

As you can see, this is pretty useful. In English, intensifiers are usually combined with adjectives or adverbs (especially quantifiers) to make the meaning stronger or to emphasise the meaning.  Today we are going to talk about the 3 most common intensifiers: 

  • Very
  • So
  • Too

How to use Very:

Very is the simplest intensifier.

[bctt tweet=”We use very to make the meaning of an adjective, adverb or quantifier stronger. That is its only use in English.” username=”dansensei_”]

You can use very with adverbs, adjectives and quantifiers. Here are some examples:

 

Adverbs:
  • I am very sorry for being late.
  • The project was finished very quickly.
  • He was beaten very easily.

 

Adjectives:
  • It is very cold these days.
  • The test was very difficult.
  • His new car looks very expensive.

 

Quantifiers:
  • Thank you very much for your help.
  • It was very much a problem for the company.
  • There was very little that could be done.

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How to use So:

So is another intensifier that is quite similar to very.

[bctt tweet=”So is also used to strengthen the meaning of adjectives and adverbs but is mainly used to emphasise your point.” username=”dansensei_”]

Once again, you can use so with adverbs, adjectives and quantifiers. Although it is used in the same way as very, we are often using it to emphasise a big difference to usual. We can also use it to emphasise our feelings.

 

Adverbs:
  • I am so pleased for you! I can’t wait for the wedding.
  • The team played so well last week.
  • He always tries so hard in class.

 

Adjectives:
  • He was so surprised by the results.
  • These new shoes are so comfortable.
  • Recently, my electric bill is so expensive.

 

Quantifiers:
  • I study so much but I don’t seem to improve.
  • I have so many things to do this week.
  • They have so little free time to spend together.

How to use too:

Too is a little different to the other intensifiers in this lesson.

[bctt tweet=”Too is usually used to express that something is more than we want, need or can deal with. It is an excessive amount.” username=”dansensei_”]

The key point to remember here is that too is expressing that something is more than we want. It is generally a bad thing. The level can stop you being able to do something. The amount is so much that it stops a result from happening. 

 

Adverbs:
  • He speaks too quickly – I can’t understand him
  • She wasn’t too pleased to see her ex-boyfriend.
  • I get frustrated too easily.

 

Adjectives:
  • This coffee is too hot – I can’t drink it.
  • It’s too cold these days – I don’t want to go outside.
  • I want to buy a new house but they are too expensive.

 

Quantifiers:
  • You worry too much. You should chill out a bit more.
  • He talks too much – I can’t get a word in.
  • There are too many people here. There is nowhere to sit!

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