Remember that in English most of the adjectives are gradable. This allows us to give different levels of quality to something. We also use gradable adjectives to make our information sound more interesting to the listener.
In Scotland it is possible to be:
- a bit cold
- very cold
- extremely cold
- completely frozen
There are adjectives which are absolute in nature and these are called non-gradable.
Examples of these would be, 'a bit dead' or 'very dead' you are either dead or not, this is an absolute quality. Another example would be, 'a bit finished' or 'very finished' again you can only be finished or not finished. So in order to modify these words we need to use modifiers like absolutely, totally, or completely. For example:
- The earrings are absolutely perfect! Thank you.
- Their house was totally destroyed by the fire.
- Now I can relax. I've completely finished cleaning the house.
- Last summer the weather was absolutely boiling in Edinburgh.
- I'm now absolutely exhausted from studying gradable and non-gradable adjectives.
Watch the video to improve your listening skills and hear some more examples.
Correct or Incorrect
- Summers in Edinburgh are absolutely hot.
Incorrect. - extremely hot
- The business was extremely destroyed by the pandemic.
Incorrect. - totally destroyed
- He was very angry.
- The new exhibition was a bit fascinating.
Incorrect. - absolutely fascinating
- After our long walk we were completely tired.
Incorrect. - quite tired
- Guess what! The tickets are completely free.
- Our flat is completely small.
Incorrect. - quite small
- Well, my flat is really tiny.