English Lesson #64 - Using Intensifying Adverbs

Intensifying Adverbs

In English there are lots of ways of saying very or very much, for example we can use words such as highly, bitterly, deeply . These alternatives collocate strongly with specific words and other combinations often sound unnatural.


Collocations – unlikely, unusual, successful, competitive, profitable, effective, controversial and recommended 

It is highly unlikely that I’ll finish my work on time.

Jill’s highly unusual behavior began to worry her parents . 

Absolutely, utterly 

Collocations – ridiculous, stupid, impossible, wrong, alone, appalled, convinced, devastated and miserable.

It was an absolutely stupid comment to make.

The whole area was utterly devastated after the earthquake.

Bitterly, deeply, ridiculously and strongly

Bitterly – disappointing, disappointed, resent, criticize, regret, complain, cry and weep

Deeply – ashamed, concerned, shocked, committed, moved, affected, hurt, regret, care, religious, unhappy

Ridiculously – cheap, expensive, easy, low, high, long, short, small, large, early

Strongly- oppose, influence, believe, deny, recommend, support, condemn, suggest, feel , argue, object 

I was bitterly disappointed when I failed the exam.

Professor Smith was always deeply committed to her students.

The restaurant was ridiculously expensive. I don’t think we’ll go there again.

I would strongly recommend that you learn a foreign language.


Choose an adverb from the following to replace very in the expressions below:

Utterly, strongly, bitterly, ridiculously, highly, deeply

1. Very ashamed

2. Very cheap

3. Very controversial

4. Very stupid

5. Very successful

6. Very disappointing

7. Very opposed

8. Very ridiculous 

9. Very easy

10. Very concerned

In each of these phrases, one is not a correct collocation. Which one is it?

1. Strongly recommend strongly influence strongly love strongly dislike

2. Highly educated highly profitable highly unusual highly exhausted

3. Bitterly regard bitterly regret bitterly resent bitterly criticize 

4. Absolutely convinced absolutely tired absolutely devastated absolutely absurd 

5. Deeply unhappy deeply religious deeply successful deeply committed 



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