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Gradable and Ungradable Adjectives

What do you know about gradable and ungradable adjectives?

As part of our focus on adjectives, we have been thinking about gradable and ungradable adjectives. Adjectives describe a quality that something has. To describe variations in temperature, for instance, we can use hot or cold, which are gradable adjectives but to describe the limits of temperature we use boiling or freezing; these are ungradable adjectives.

For example:

Ungradable Gradable
Tiny Small
Excellent Good
Boiling Warm/Hot
Enormous Big
Terrible Bad
Freezing Cold
Exhausted Tired
Furious Angry

GROUP A: Before ungradable adjectives we use these adverbs: absolutely, completely, totally, utterly, really

GROUP B: Before gradable adjectives we use these adverbs: very, extremely, a bit, slightly, really

Choose an adverb from the correct group (A or B) to complete the following sentences

  1. It’s ____ cold today so don’t forget your scarf.

  2. I thought that tv programme was ____ fantastic.

  3. I felt ____ exhausted after the gym session.

  4. My sister is ____ certain that she wants to be a teacher.

  5. I think books about grammar are ____ amazing.

  6. I was ____ surprised when he told me the news.

  7. The food in England is ____ tasty.

  8. They were _____ scared of the barking dog.

Students in classroom

ANSWERS

  1. It’s very cold today so don’t forget your scarf.

  2. I thought that tv programme was absolutely fantastic.

  3. I felt completely exhausted after the gym session

  4. My sister is absolutely certain that she wants to be a teacher.

  5. I think books about grammar are totally amazing.

  6. I was slightly surprised when he told me the news.

  7. The food in England is really tasty.

  8. They were a bit scared of the barking dog.

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