How to Use Adverbs of Degree with Useful Examples

Adverbs of degree are an essential part of the English language, as they help to convey the intensity or extent of an action or adjective. Whether it’s expressing how much you love something, or how fast you can run, adverbs of degree add an extra layer of detail to your communication. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of adverbs of degree, how they are used in sentences, and provide some examples to help you better understand their function in the English language. So, let’s dive in and take a closer look at these important modifiers! 

Adverbs of Degree

How to Use Adverbs of Degree with Useful ExamplesPin

What Are Adverbs of Degree?

Degree adverbs are words that describe the intensity of a particular adjective, verb, or adverb. They alter the meaning of the word they describe by making them stronger or weaker. For example, degree adverbs like extremely will produce thoughts of abundance while words like slightly will lessen the impact of the word it seeks to modify.

Some common degree adverbs include: too, slightly, completely, very, fairly, and bit.

When writing or speaking you sometimes want to denote to what extent something impacts you. Sometimes to communicate clearly you want to be able to qualify certain descriptions. For instance, you can qualify temperature in terms of hot, cold, or warm. Certain words will paint a clearer picture of how cold something felt to you. For example, It could be slightly cold, a bit cold, or really, extremely cold.

Alternatively, you could describe how tired a friend appeared to you. Did your friend look a wee tired or quite tired? These words influence the severity of something. Depending on which adverb was chosen the severity could increase or decrease.

  • Examples of adverbs that increase the severity of a situation include: completely, very, and absolutely.
  • Examples of words that lessen the severity of something are a bit, a little, and slightly.

Placements of Adverbs of Degree

Most of the words used to describe the intensity of something are placed before the verb, adjective, or adverb they wish to qualify. A small portion of these words, however, do not follow this formula.

Adverbs that precede verbs, adjectives, or adverbs

  • The doctor was extremely old.
  • The dog is too small.

Both of these examples are of degree adverbs that precede adjectives. In the first sentence, the adverb extremely modifies the adjective old. In the second sentence, the adverb too comes before the adjective. Each adverb describes how cold or small the subject appears. When the adverb too appears in the second sentence it conveys a problem.

Notes these adverbs can also be used to speak to the degree of a verb or other adverb.

Adverbs that follow verbs, adjectives, or adverbs

Unlike the above set of degree adverbs, the adverb enough appears after the verb, adverb, or adjective being modified. Enough means to the extent something is necessary when used as an adverb.

  • She could not eat enough.
  • The dough would not be hard enough.

Enough follows the verb eat in the first sentence and the adjective hard in the second.

To + the infinitive form often follow the adverb “enough“. For example:

  • She could not eat enough to repress the memory.
  • The dough would not be hard enough to throw.

In the first sentence, the word enough follows the infinitive “to suppress.” In the second sentence, the word enough follows the infinitive “to throw.”

Commonly Used Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of degree help express the intensity or degree of an action, adjective, or another adverb. In this section, we will explore some commonly used adverbs of degree.

Very

“Very” is a versatile adverb of degree that can be used to enhance the meaning of an adjective, verb, or another adverb. It implies a higher degree of the quality being described. Here are some examples:

  • She is very tall.
  • He runs very quickly.
  • The cake is very delicious.

Quite

“Quite” is used to express a moderate degree of a quality. It is neither too high nor too low in intensity. “Quite” can modify adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. Check out these examples:

  • The tea is quite hot.
  • They arrived quite early to the event.
  • She is quite intelligent.

Extremely

“Extremely” is an adverb of degree that expresses a very high level of intensity. It is used to emphasize that a particular quality is present to an exceptional degree. Here are some instances where “extremely” is used:

  • The weather today is extremely cold.
  • He is extremely talented in his field.
  • The noise outside was extremely loud.

Barely

“Barely” is an adverb of degree indicating a minimal or scarcely noticeable extent of a quality. It is often used to describe situations where something almost did not happen or is hardly detectable. See the examples below:

  • They barely made it to the bus stop in time.
  • She could barely see anything in the dark room.
  • He barely passed the exam by just one point.

Too

“Too” implies a degree that is excessive or beyond what is desirable or appropriate. It can indicate that something is more than what is needed or wanted. Here are some examples:

  • She is too tall to fit in the car.
  • He runs too quickly and often trips.
  • The cake is too sweet for my taste.

Enough

“Enough” is an adverb of degree that indicates sufficiency or adequacy. It can be used to modify adjectives, verbs, and nouns to indicate that the quantity or quality is sufficient or adequate. Here are some examples:

  • I am not tall enough to ride this roller coaster. (modifying the adjective “tall”)
  • She worked hard enough to earn a promotion. (modifying the verb “worked”)
  • We don’t have enough chairs for everyone. (modifying the noun “chairs”)

List of Other Adverbs of Degree

Listed below are words you can use to shape the degree of something.

  • Almost: Very close to doing or completing something.
  • Awfully: Very or extremely.
  • A little: A small amount or degree.
  • Entirely: Completely or totally.
  • Completely: Totally or fully.
  • Most: The majority or nearly all.
  • Lots: A large amount or many.
  • Somewhat: To some extent or moderately.
  • Fairly: To a reasonable degree or moderately.
  • Rather: To some extent or quite.
  • Pretty: To some extent or quite. 

Use of Adverbs of Degree in Sentences

Adverbs of degree are essential in expressing the intensity or extent of an action, quality, or another adverb. In this section, we will explore the use of adverbs of degree in sentences, focusing on their interaction with action verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.

Use with Action Verbs

When used with action verbs, adverbs of degree modify the intensity of the action. They can either strengthen or weaken the verb’s meaning. Here are some examples:

  1. She quickly finished her homework.
  2. He strongly disagreed with the proposal.
  3. They barely managed to catch the bus.
  4. The athlete easily broke the world record.

Use with Adjectives

Adverbs of degree can also modify adjectives, expressing the intensity or extent of a quality. In this case, the adverb precedes the adjective it modifies. Examples include:

  1. The weather is extremely hot today.
  2. She was quite surprised by the news.
  3. The cake was rather delicious.
  4. His performance was outstandingly good.

Use with Other Adverbs

Finally, adverbs of degree can modify other adverbs, either intensifying or weakening their meaning. When used this way, the adverb of degree usually comes before the adverb it modifies. Some examples are:

  1. She spoke very softly.
  2. The runner finished the race incredibly quickly.
  3. He works unusually hard.
  4. The event was somewhat unexpectedly successful.

Degree Adverbs in Informal vs. Formal Language

Degree adverbs are used to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs, providing information about the extent to which something happens. Knowing when to use informal or formal language with degree adverbs can greatly improve communication and the impression made on the listener or reader.

In formal language, degree adverbs such as ‘almost,’ ‘absolutely,’ and ‘entirely’ are commonly used. This type of language is appropriate in academic writing, business correspondence, or professional settings. Formal language focuses on clarity, precision, and appropriate word choice to convey a professional tone. For example:

  • The meeting was almost complete when the new proposal was introduced.
  • The outcome of the experiment was absolutely unexpected.
  • We entirely agree with the recommendations made by the committee.

On the other hand, informal language often employs degree adverbs such as ‘awfully,’ ‘pretty,’ ‘mostly,’ and ‘kind of.’ These adverbs are more common in everyday conversations, social media posts, text messages, and casual interactions. Typical informal language is relaxed, using contractions, slang, or colloquialisms. For example:

  • I’m kind of hungry, but I can wait to eat.
  • She was pretty excited about the new job opportunity.

Understanding the difference between informal and formal language when using degree adverbs can greatly impact the effectiveness of the communication. One should always be aware of the context, audience, and purpose in order to choose appropriate language and tone. Below, you’ll find a brief comparison of some degree adverbs in informal and formal language:

Informal Formal
awfully extremely
pretty rather
mostly primarily
kind of somewhat

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Last Updated on November 13, 2023

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3 thoughts on “How to Use Adverbs of Degree with Useful Examples”

  1. In the first sentence, the word enough follows the infinitive “to suppress.” In the second sentence, the word enough follows the infinitive “to throw.” – here it should be “enough comes before the infinitive” or “the infinitive follows enough”

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  2. Thank you very much for all the hard work and the wonderful examples and images! I noticed that on the picture it is written to+infinitive+ the adverb “enough”. Wouldn’t it be less confusing changing it to “enough” + infinitive? For a second I thought the instruction pointed to the position of the infinitive before the adverb, and since it’s not specified it’s a short infinitive then “to” is implied of accompanying the verb.

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