Adverbs for Degree

Express the intensity of an action — how much?

A big talker
 

 

Degree Adverb Uses

MODIFIYING A VERB MODIFIYING AN ADVERB MODIFIYING AN ADJECTIVE

Modifies the intensity of the action telling us 'how much'.

Modifies the intensity of the adverb.

Modifies quality or character.

            modifies word to right
He talks excessively all the time.

                         modifies word to right
He talks extremely fast.

                   modifies word to right
He is extremely talkative

         modifies word to right
He rather loves his audiences.

                                  modifies word to right
He communicates rather well

            modifies word to right
He is rather attractive

         modifies word to right
He hardly stops to breathe.

                     modifies word to right
He reasons very quickly.

                         modifies word to right
His ratings are very high. 

Logic suggests not using degree modifiers with absolute words; for example, "He's rather dead."  Test this by using rather before: absolute, entirely, eternal, fatal, final, finite, identical, immortal, infinite, mortal, opposite, perfect, right, straight, opposite, or unique.

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbs for Manner

With Secondary Meanings for Degree

 

 

 

Manner vs. Degree—variation in meaning

MANNER

An adverb of manner usually has one meaning. 

He was trained specially for the debate.  specially– in a particular or unique manner. 

They behaved terribly.   terribly – in a bad manner

He was behaving suspiciously.  suspiciously – in a manner causing mistrust

They spoke English easily.   easily – in an easy manner, without problems

He treats us fairly.   fairly – in a manner that is equal or just

He speaks English well.   good – in an good manner, competently 

DEGREE

A degree adverb may have a secondary meaning

He was especially good at debating   espeecially – particularly, extremely

I'm terribly sorry.   terribly – very, very

He was suspiciously quiet.    suspiciously – unusually

He is easily the best speaker.   easily – clearly

He communicates fairly fluently.    fairly – adequately, sufficiently

He was well recommended to us.   well – highly, top level

 

 

 

 

Degree Adverbs—intensity vs. completeness

INTENSITY

Some degree adverbs indicate intensity from very much to very little (or none).

He is extremely excited about his work.

He is somewhat excited about his work.

He is hardly excited about his work.

COMPLETENESS

Some degree adverbs indicate completeness—from very complete to partially complete.

He is completely done with his work.

He is almost done with his work.

He is partly done with his work.

 

 

 

 

Degree Adverbs—other meanings & expressions

UNIQUE MEANINGS

Some degree adverbs take on new meanings, different from their meanings when used as adjectives.

He is wonderfully excited about his work.  creatively

We are deeply saddened to hear about his death. profoundly

The house is easily accessible. without difficulty

He is highly regardedtop level

It is virtually trouble-free. practically

He's awfully mad. very

EXPRESSIONS

Other degree adverbs are used in expressions. (These are learned over time.)

He is plain / dead wrong completely  "dead right" but not "plain right"

You are mighty kind. extremely (nice, tall, smart, pleased – positive)

He is damn rudeextremely (very informal)

It's downright unfair. completely, totally

He's real / really / pretty smartvery

He's a jolly good fellow. / He'll jolly well do. very  

 

Solution - lightbulbdeep / deeply

 

 

 

 

 

 

Degree Adverbs

A Partial List

 

 

 

Degree Adverbs with -ly Suffix

absolutely  very

amazingly  surprisingly

awfully very

barely negative

completely  totally, all parts

considerably

dreadfully   very

easily  clearly, without difficulties

enormously

entirely

especially ¹

exceedingly

excessively

extensively very

extremely very

fairly

fantastically

fully

greatly

hardly not much

highly  very

hugely

immensely

incredibly  very

infinitely extremely

intensely very

largely ¹ mostly

literally ²

moderately

nearly

noticeably

particularly ¹

partly

perfectly completely

positively

practically almost; nearly

profoundly

purely

really

reasonably acceptably

relatively

remarkably

seriously alarming degree

simply

slightly

strikingly

strongly  surely

sufficiently

supremely

  suprisingly unexpected degree

suspiciously

terribly   very

totally

tremendously  very

truly

unbelievably

utterly

virtually ¹

wonderfully

 

¹ is also a focusing adverb.

² literally  (1) the primary or strict meaning of a word; (2) word for word; (3) without exaggeration, actually; (4) in effect, very nearly; virtually

 

 

 

Degree adverbs without -ly suffix

about

almost

altogether

downright

however

indeed

jolly

just

least

less

mighty

more

most

not

quite

rather

so

somewhat 

still

too

very

very much

way far 

well

as… as

too… to...

so…that

enough

(Huddleston 583–4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbs for Degree

Modifying a Verb

 

 

 

Placement

BEFORE THE VERB BETWEEN AUXILIARY AND MAIN VERB AFTER THE VERB

Place the degree adverb before the verb.

This usual placement is after the auxiliary verbs and before the main verb.

Longer expression tend to be placed after the verb.

moveovermodifies verb after it
He totally loves giving speeches.
      adverb - verb              object   

moveovermodifies verb after itmodifies verb after it
He will totally love giving speeches.
      aux -  adverb - verb          object   

moveovermodifies verb before it
He loves giving speeches very much.
        verb           object              adverb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Word Use for "Degree"

SENTENCE DEGREE SYNONYMS 

He ____  loves public speaking.   verb

 

 

VERY, VERY MUCH

absolutely, completely, enormously, excessively, fully, greatly, highly, hugely, immensely, infinitely intensely, profoundly, totally, tremendously, utterly

VERY MUCH

moderately, noticeably, positively,  really, simply , truly, very much

NOT MUCH

hardly, barely, not (doesn't)

 

 

 

Word Use for "Completeness"

SENTENCE DEGREE SYNONYMS 

We ____  agree.   verb

 

 

COMPLETELY

completely, strongly, perfectly, totally, entirely, largely, positively, simply, for the most part

PARTLY

almost, nearly, partly, kind of, somewhat, hardly,

NOT

hardly, barely, not (don't)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbs for Degree

Modifying an Adverb

 

 

 

Placement — Modifying Adverbs

BEFORE THE ADVERB BEFORE AND AFTER

 Place the adverb before the adverb.

Place longer expressions after the adverb.  See so, too, enough below.

moveovermodifies word to right
The politician speaks rather persuasively.

 

persuasively (adv.) – in a manner that makes other people believe something or do what you ask

moveovermodifies word to right
This politician speaks as persuasively as Churchill.  (unequal comparison)
This politician speaks so persuasively that everyone follows him.
*This politician speaks too persuasively to believe
This politician speaks        persuasively enough to believe.
 

Excessive: (1) we don't believe him, or (2) there is no one like him before; unprecedented 

 

 

 

Word Use for "Degree"

SENTENCE DEGREE SYNONYMS 

   adverb

EXCESSIVELY

awfully, dreadfully, exceedingly, incredibly, terribly, too, excessively

VERY

extremely, really, remarkably, surprisingly, truly, downright, mighty, quite, rather, so, very, wonderfully

SOMEWHAT

moderately, relatively, simply, somewhat

NOT VERY

fairly, slightly, un (not)

 

 

 

Negatives

INTENSIVE ADVERB NEGATIVE VERB NEGATIVE ADVERB

Gives a compliment.

Suggests a problem.

Notes a problem.

He speaks very well

He doesn't speak very well.

He speaks badly.

They work very well together. 

They don't work very well together.

They work poorly together. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adverbs for Degree

Modifying Adjectives

Churchill
 

 

Placement – Modifying Adjectives

BEFORE BEFORE AND AFTER

 Place the adverb before the adjective.

Place longer expressions after the adjective.  See so, too, enough below.

moveover modifies word to right
The speech was absolutely amazing.

moveoverarrow to right
His speech was as amazing as Churchill's.  (comparison)
His speech was so amazing that everyone cheered.
His speech was too fantastic to believe
His speech was        moderate enough to believe.
 

 

 

Word Use for "Degree"  — How much?

SENTENCE DEGREE SYNONYMS 

   adjective

 

 

 

 

EXTREMELY

awfully, dreadfully, enormously, exceedingly, extremely, incredibly, terribly, tremendously, too, excessively

VERY

amazingly, really, remarkably, surprisingly, truly, downright, mighty, quite, rather, so, very, wonderfully

SOMEWHAT

moderately, relatively, simply, somewhat, sufficiently

NOT VERY

barely, fairly, slightly, un (not), hardly
 

 

 

Word Use for "Completeness"— How complete?

SENTENCE DEGREE SYNONYMS 

   adjective

 

 

 

COMPLETELY

completely, thoroughly, practically, almost, nearly

PARTLY  

partly, partially, kind of, about, somewhat, relatively,

NOT

hardly, barely, not (un)

 

 

 

An Ambiguous Modifier Placement

AMBIGUOUS MODIFIER (UNCLEAR) POSSIBLE MEANINGS

Sometimes a modifier can modify one of two words, but its not clear which one. 

In one interpretation it could modify the verb.  In another it could modify the object.  If context does not clarify the meaning, then re-order the words.

moveovercan modify verb or pronoun
He believes absolutely everything you tell him.  Which word does absolutely modify?

The modifier could modify word before or after it.    The meaning changes only slightly. 
  

 

1)  He absolutely believes everything you tell him.    absolutely modifies believes (v.)

2)  He believes absolutely everything you tell him.   absolutely modifies everything (adj-det.)

ambiguous (adj) – something that is unclear, confusing, or not certain, especially because it can be understood in more than one way   

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Adverbs

So/Very, Too, Enough

 

 

 

Using too, very and enough

SO / VERY TOO ENOUGH

Intensive

Excessive (negative - a problem)

Adequate (positive - no problem)

He speaks so / very slowly (adv) 

He speaks too slowly. (adv)   not good!

He speaks slowly enough (adv)  good!

He is so / very  careful .(adj) 

He is too careful. (adj)   not good!

He is careful enough. (adj)  good!
 

Related pages: Too / Enough + Infin,   So & Such – that ,   "So" Phrases

 

 

 

Expressions

SO…THAT TOO…TO ENOUGH…TO

So may include a that clause placed after the adjective or adverb.

Too may include a for or to clause that is placed after the adjective or adverb.

Enough may include a for or to clause that is placed after the adjective or adverb.

He speaks so fast that I can't understand him (adv) 

He speaks too fast for me to understand.

He speaks slowly enough for me to understand.  (adv) 

He is so interesting that we love to listen to him (adv) 

He speaks too fast to understand.

He is smart enough to do the job.  (adj)

 

 

 

Negatives

NOT SO / VERY NOT TOO NOT ENOUGH

He doesn't work very hard. (problem)

He doesn't work too hard. (no problem)

He doesn't work hard enough. (problem)

He isn't so smart. (a problem)

He isn't too smart. (maybe a problem)
 

He isn't smart enough. (a problem)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*He earns too much money.

How can money (a good thing) be excessive?

*She is too beautiful.  (negative meaning)

How can beauty (a good thing) be excessive?

~When he returned my lost iphone to me, I literally could have kissed his feet. 

This is an additional meaning of "literally".  Pop-Q "Literally"

*She's a rather unique singer.

*He's rather dead.

 Pop-Q "Rather Unique"

SOLUTION

He earns so much money.
He earns too much money to pay middle-class tax rates.

Qualify how the money (a good thing) can be excessive.

She is so beautiful.

She is too beautiful for words.  She is beautiful.

 Qualify how her beauty (a good thing) can be excessive.

When he returned my lost iphone to me, I nearly  kissed his feet.   

Primarily, literally means (1) word for word; however, it can also mean figuratively, virtually, nearly, in effect. See dictionary literally.

She's a unique singer. / She's a distinctive singer.

He's dead.

Not incorrect, but logic suggests not using degree modifiers with absolute words. For example, it is confusing to use rather before: absolute, dead, entirely, eternal, fatal, final, finite, identical, immortal, infinite, mortal, opposite, perfect, right, straight, opposite, or unique.

 

*incorrect usage / ~ questionable usage (usage in transition)

 

 

 

 

 

Practice

Succeeding by Degree

Obama speech
 

 

Complete the sentence with a degree adverb.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.
  be regarded (v.) –  be respected

10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 2

Emphasizing Your Viewpoint

Shoes on shelves
 

 

Decide which degree adverbs can complete the sentence.

  1. Select one or more options. (Usage varies depending on local speech patterns.)
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 11-16" button.

 

11.


           

       

12.


       

       

13.


       

       

14.


       

       

15.


       

       

16.


       

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 3

The Pros and Cons of Internships

overloaded interninterns working
 

 

Read the Context

Finding jobs continues to be difficult for young people graduating from college. The job market has been slow to improve. Those people who do find jobs have to be clever to get into a company for an interview. Many are happy to take non-paying internships in order to get work experience. After the internship, an intern hopes to be hired or at least be recommended for another job. 

The intern's presence in the office can be helpful. In a good internship, an intern is treated with respect, does a wide variety of tasks, and learns job skills. In a bad internship, an intern is treated rudely, asked to do ordinary tasks, and receives little compensation. After the internship is over, the intern may or may not be in a better position to find a paying job.

pros and cons (expression) – the good and bad aspects; pro "for" , con "against"

get hired (get passive) – to successfully manage to be offered a regular, paying job

internship (n.) – a job that lasts for a short time, that someone, especially a student, does in order to gain experience

be compensated (v.) – paid, rewarded

 

 

 

 

Decide on the best location to add the given degree adverb(s) to the sentence.

  1. Edit the sentence in the text box.
  2. Compare your edit with the feedback by clicking the "check" button.

 

17.
Finding jobs continues to be difficult for young people graduating from college.
ADD: extremely


18.
The job market has been slow to improve.
ADD: incredibly


19.
Those people who do find jobs have to be clever to get into a company for an interview. 
ADD:remarkably


20.
Many are happy to take non-paying internships in order to get work experience. 
ADD: perfectly


21.
After the internship, an intern hopes to be hired or at least be recommended for another job.
ADD: well


22.
The intern's presence in the office can be helpful.
ADD: tremendously


23.
In a good internship, an intern is treated with respect, does a wide variety of tasks, and learns useful job skills.
ADD: highly


24.
In a bad internship, an intern is treated rudely, asked to do ordinary tasks, and receives little compensation.
ADD: somewhat, rather, very


25.
After the internship is over, the intern may or may not be in a better position to find a paying job.
ADD: very much, well