1.2 TRY SOMETHING NEW: Gradable and ungradable adjectives

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Question English
Answer English

What are adjectives?
In the examples below, these adjectives are used to describe an elephant. Large, grey, and friendly are all examples of adjectives
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What are adjectives? in English
Adjectives are describing words.

Describing feelings and things
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'-ed' and '-ing' adjectives.

Adjectives that end in -ed are used to describe
tired, bored, excited
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how people feel/how a person feels

Adjectives that end in -ing are used to describe
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things and situations. refer to the thing/person/situation that causes the feeling

tired / tiring; bored / boring; excited / exciting
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Few, but common, adjectives end in either -ed or -ing

annoyed, bored, confused, depressed, excited, frustrated, frightened, satisfied, shocked

annoying, boring, confusing, depressing, exciting, frustrating, frightening, satisfying, shocking

What are gradable adjectives?
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Adjectives used to describe qualities that can be measured in degrees.

Big, angry, small, expensive, cold, are (?)
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gradable adjectives.

married, furious, impossible, excellent, freezing, are (?)
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non-gradable or ungradable adjectives...

Ungradable / non-gradable / extreme adjectives
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Adjectives used to describe qualities that are completely present or completely absent.

They can be used in comparative or superlative forms, or with modifiers such as very or extremely, to show that person or thing has more or less of a particular quality.
big, bigger, biggest
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Gradable adjectives

They do not occur in comparative and superlative forms, and cannot be used with modifiers such as very or extremely, because we don't usually imagine degrees of more or less of the quality being described
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Ungradable adjectives.

Modifiers used with gradable adjectives
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Modifiers used with gradable adjectives: extremely, very, quite

Modifiers used with non-gradable adjectives
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Modifiers used with non-gradable adjectives: absolutely, completely, totally, utterly.

Modifiers used with gradable and ungradable adjectives
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Modifiers used with gradable and ungradable adjectives: really, fairly, pretty

Ungradable / non-gradable adjectives sometimes occur with modifiers such as completely
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to emphasize the extent of the quality: the questions were completely impossible; the food was absolutely superb; this book is absolutely excellent; this food is absolutely delicious; that's a completely idiotic idea.

Don't talk to Jenny, she's very angry. Gradable or ungradable adjectif?
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Angry is a gradable adjective.

Sorry, I can't stop, I'm extremely busy. Gradable or ungradable?
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Busy is a gradable adjective.

I'm worried about Tom, he's dreadfully unhappy. Gradable or ungradable?
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Unhappy is a gradable adjective.

This is a very important matter. Gradable or ungradable?
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Important is a gradable adjective.

That slice of cake is rather big. Gradable or ungradable?
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Big is a gradable adjective.

I felt really (?) because I tried so hard but I still failed the driving test
frustrating/frustated
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I felt really frustated because I tried so hard but I still failed the driving test

And it's your fifth time! How (?)
embarrassing / embarrassed
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And it's your fifth time! How embarrassing!

I was (?) interested in the book
very / really / totally
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I was very interested in the book.

Yes, it was (?) fascinating
very / really / totally
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Yes, it was totally fascinating.

I was (?) relieved at the end
very / really / absolutely
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I was really relieved at the end.

Yes, and we won! I was (?) over the moon
very / really / absolutely
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Yes, and we won! I was really over the moon.

Base adjectives
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Base adjectives are normal adjectives that don't have the idea of 'very'

Strong adjectives
gorgeous = very beautiful huge = very big
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Strong adjectives, however, are extreme adjectives that have the idea of 'very'

gorgeous


filthy

superb, great, fantastic

terrible

thrilled

furious

starving

exhausted

hilarious

huge, enormous



terrified

freezing


The use of very, absolutely and really with base and strong adjectives
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Very, absolutely and really are used differently according whether the adjective is a base or a strong one

Base adjectives
very absolutely really
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He was very happy; He was really happy

Strong adjectives
very absolutely really
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he was absolutely thrilled. he was really thrilled.

Adverbs with gradable adjectives
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very, extremely, a bit, slightly
Really is used with both.

Adverbs with ungradable adjectives
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absolutely, completely, totally, utterly.
Really is used with both.

Un-gradable/non-gradable/extremely adjectives sometimes occur with
The questions were completely impossible. The food was absolutely superb. This book is absolutely excellent. This food is absolutely delicious. That's a completely idiotic idea.
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modifiers such as completely to emphasize the extent of the quality.


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