This post will tackle a typical error for Englsh learners, the use of gradable and ungradable adjectives.

 

What is a gradable adjective?

A gradable adjective is an adjective that you can measure in terms of its degree. An excellent example would be ugly. You could say that my shirt is very ugly. Others might think it is quite ugly. But what we realise is how ugly it is can change.

 

This is my shirt by the way. I think it is rather smart

What is an ungradable adjective?

An ungradable adjective is either present or absent. Examples can be dead or pregnant. You cannot be a bit dead or a little bit pregnant, you either are or you arent.

Ungradable adjectives are also known as extreme adjectives

What do you need to know about them?

To use adjectives effectively, you need to use them with intensifiers but not all of them can be used with very or quite for example.

 

We use gradable adjectives with:

Very/really/extremely 

I am very tall.

I am really clever.

I am extremely fit.

Quite/fairly/pretty/rather

I am quite strong.

I am fairly tired.

I am pretty ugly.

I am rather scared.

 

We use ungradable adjectives with:

Absolutely/completely/totally

It is absolutely awful.

It is completely impossible.

You are totally wrong.

 

Examples of gradable and ungradable adjectives

 

GRADABLE UNGRADABLE
ANGRY AWFUL
ANNOYING CHEMICAL
BIG DEAD
BUSY ENORMOUS
COLD EXCELLENT
FRIGHTENED HUGE
IRRITATING IMPOSSIBLE
HOT TINY
SILLY UNIQUE
SMALL WRONG

 

DOWNLOAD THIS LIST IN PDF HERE

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0