Remember that in English most adjectives are gradable. This allows us to give different levels of quality or degree to the adjective. So we use words like 'a bit', 'very' 'extremely' or 'completely' in front of them.
In Scotland it is possible to be:
- a bit cold
- very cold
- extremely cold
- completely cold
On the other hand, there are adjectives which describe a fixed or absolute quality. These are non-gradable adjectives.
Examples of these include dead, pregnant, finished etc. You are not 'a bit dead' or 'very dead' or 'a bit pregnant'. You are either dead or not or pregnant or not. Other examples are adjectives such as perfect, finished or boiling. In order to modify these words we use adverbs like absolutely, totally, or also 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. - very tired
- Guess what! The tickets are completely free.
- Our flat is completely small.
Incorrect. - quite small
- Well, my flat is really tiny.