Adverbs of Degree

A close up shot of a wooden temperature gauge

What is an Adverb?

An adverb is a word that describes a verb, adjective or another adverb.

For example: He spoke quietly.  

In this example ‘quietly’ is the adverb as it describes how he spoke (which is the verb).

What is an Adverb of Degree?

An adverb of degree is an adverb that tells you about the intensity of something. What I mean by intensity is – we may wish to tell our friend that we are happy. But we may want to tell them how happy we are (ergo the intensity of our happiness). So we could say: I am extremely happy (meaning you are very happy) or I am not very happy (meaning you are close to being sad.)

Other examples of adverbs of degree include: too, enough, very, incredibly and extremely.

Here are some sentence examples:

The movie was extremely disappointing.

She is walking too fast.

I am incredibly angry at what just happened.

Enough as an adverb

When we use enough as an adverb it means ‘to the necessary degree’. It normally goes after the adjective or adverb which it is modifying.

Note that it does not go before as other adverbs do so we wouldn’t say: Is your coffee enough hot? We would say: Is your coffee hot enough?

Enough is usually followed by to + infinitive. Here’s an example:

Is your coffee hot enough to drink?

Are you well enough to work?

In addition to this, enough can be followed by ‘for something’ or ‘for someone’. What I mean by this is:

Is the coffee hot enough for you? (For someone).

Are you experienced enough for this job? (For something).

Enough as a determiner

When we use enough as a determiner we mean ‘as much’ or ‘as many as necessary’. Enough as a determiner usually goes before the noun that it is modifying. Here are some examples:

We have enough milk.

I think we have enough food.

I don’t have enough cats.

They don’t have enough wood.

Too

When we use ‘too’ as an adverb it has two meanings. The first meaning is ‘also’, the second is ‘excessively’. Let’s look at some specifics:  

When we use ‘too’ as an adverb, and it means ‘also’ then we put it at the end of the phrase it is modifying. Here are some examples:

Can I go to the park too? (Can I go to the park also?)

I’m not going to make your dinner too. (I’m not going to make your dinner also.)

I’d like a cup of tea too. (I’d like a cup of tea also.)

When we use ‘too’ as an adverb, and it means ‘excessively’ then we put it before the adjective or adverb that it is modifying. Here are some examples:

The park is too far. (The park is excessively far.)

Making your dinner is too much. (Making your dinner is excessive.)

This cup of tea is too hot. (The cup of tea is excessively hot.)

Similar to ‘enough’ we use the structure to + infinitive after. For example:

The food was too hot to eat.

The park was too far to go.

We can also – like the adverb ‘enough’ – follow ‘too’ with ‘for someone’ or ‘for something’. For example:

The food was too hot for me. (For someone).

She is too old for the job (For something.)

Very

When we use ‘very’ as an adverb we put it before an adverb of adjective. We do this so the word we are modifying becomes stronger. Here are some examples:

My grandmother is very old.

The house is very cold.

Note: If we want to turn this sentence into a negative, we simply add ‘not’ before ‘very’. So, we would say:

My grandmother is not very old.

The house is not very cold.

Exercise

Fill in the blanks below.

  1. I’m not going. It’s _______ far and I’m tired.
  2. Are you warm _______?
  3. It is _______ hot in here, I’m burning up.
  4. I just won the lottery. I am _______ happy!
  5. He ate his food _______ quickly.
  6. Is your food hot _______ for you?
  7. The dog was _______ big _______ rescue.
  8. My daughter is _______ old for Peppa Pig.
  9. Can you get me some sweets _______?
  10. The house was _______ expensive, we couldn’t afford it.

Answers

  1. Too / extremely
  2. Enough
  3. Very / extremely / too
  4. Incredibly / extremely / very
  5. Very / extremely
  6. Enough
  7. Too / to
  8. Too
  9. Too
  10. Very / extremely

Find out more about adverbs here or why not book a free trial lesson today and talk about your English goals with an experienced and friendly English teacher. It’s never too late to reach your English goals!

This blog was written by Intrepid English teacher, Tom

You can find out more about Tom by visiting his Intrepid English Teacher Profile Page.

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us using the chat box, or email us at Intrepid English.

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