#Adjective and adverb modifying. Intensifiers. Patterns of comparison
Adjectives and adverbs can be qualified by adding an adverb as an intensifier (emphasize) or as a downtower.
Intesifiers either convey emphasis or denote a high degree of quality. The commonest of them is very but there is a wide choice of them , formal and informal. Some of them indicate the highest degree of intensification: absolutely, totally, quite, completely, very, extremely, really, much, a lot. Others just slightly intensify the meaning of the adjective: quite, somewhat, pretty, rather.
Downtoners like fairly, a bit, a little bit, a little, slightly, rather etc suggest an incomplete or low degree of quality, decrease the effect of the word they modify and are used with adj and adv in the Positive or Comparative degree. (He is rather clever)
The choise of an intensifier is linked to the context and the meaning of the adjective:
-ungradable adj like wonderful, perfect,delightful – cannont be used with very(they already mean very): cannot be used in a comparative sense
-gradable adj like bad, warm, easy, big, shy etc – cannot be used with 100% intensifiers as absolutely, totally
Different intensifiers an be used with diff degrees of comparison, usually precede the adj, in few cases – may follow the adj
-with the Positive degree (very-very awkward, too-too glad, that-that bad etc)
-with the Comparative degree (much-much younger, ever-ever greater, still-still better)
-with the Superlative degree (by far-by far the best, the very-her very best dress)
Idiomatic intensifiers (specific to a particular adjective) – fast asleep, brand new, rock hard, wide awake
Adj and advers compared
1) Many adverbs are related to adjectives by the derivational model (Adj+ly=adv) (gentle-gently, easy-easily)
2) There are numbers of adj ending in –ly which have no corresponding adverbs; derived from nouns denoting:
-family and personal relations(father-fatherly, friend-friendly)
-and some others(life-lively)
Here also belongs: sick-sickly and silly.
use adverbially in the following structures: in a adj way/manner
3) A few adverbs fully coincide in form with adj: better, best, fast, wore, worst.
In some cases both adj and adv end in ly(early,kindly,only)
4) A group of adj have 2 corresponding adv, one coinciding in form with the adj, the other formed in –ly; differ in meaning; use-conditioned by their meaning (close-leaving little space between(stay close to me), closely-thorougly, tightly; in a close manner(follow an argument closely)
Patterns of comparison
Apart from the morphological ways of denoting gradation of quality there are some syntactic patterns in which comparison is expressed. Differ in meaning, as well as in degrees of comp.
1. With the positive degree
-equality (as…as) – as sharp as
-inequality (not as…as, not so..as, twice as…as)
-sufficiency (adj+enough(+inf)) – rich enough
2. with the Comparative degree
-parallel (the ..er … the…er) the more…the more
-inferiority (less+adj…than…; …er than…) – less naughty than
-superiority (3 times …er than; …er than it is + adj; the..er of the two; of the two .. the …er) – 3 times taller than, longer than it is wide, the more gifted of the two)
-inferiority (the least+adj …of/in…/ever…/that…) – the youngest of all, the youngest in, of the … the most polite)