It was hilariously, unbelievably, ridiculously funny!

weddingIntensifying and emphasising adverbs

There are a lot of great ways to make English more interesting. Intensifying and emphasising adverbs are two of my favourite. You can make any story sound more interesting by using them. These are my favourites:

absolutely – simply – utterly – totally – completely – perfectly – bitterly – intensely – unbelievably – thoroughly – incredibly – awfully

Compare the stories see for yourself which has a greater impact in each case, the first or the second?

1. I went to the worst conference last week. The speakers were boring, the food was served late and was poor when it came. The venue was miserable and everyone left feeling demotivated.

2. I went to the worst conference last week. The speakers were thoroughly boring, the food was served incredibly late and was awfully poor when it came. The venue was utterly miserable and everyone left feeling completely demotivated.

1. Last week I went to a friend’s wedding and it was beautiful. The venue was stunning and the band played very well all night. The food was good and the speeches were emotional. It was one of the best nights of my life!

2. Last week I went to a friend’s wedding and it was absolutely beautiful. The venue was simply stunning and the band played unbelievably well all night. The food was incredibly good and the speeches were intensely emotional. It was one of the best nights of my life!

It has to be the second, doesn’t it? The adverbs help tell a more passionate story.
Here are some common adjective + adverb collocations:

Highly + unlikely, unusual, successful, competitive, profitable, effective, controversial, recommended

Absolutely, utterly + ridiculous, stupid, impossible, wrong, alone, appalled, convinced, devastated, miserable

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

There are other more specific adverbs too. For example;

Desperately + disappointed, unhappy, dull, rude
Hilariously + funny
Virtually (=almost) + impossible, silent, deaf, blind
Refreshingly (=surprising in a good way) + new, honest, thoughtful, kind, modest
Beautifully + made, soft, silky, written
Obsessively + ambitious, clean, meticulous, committed, tidy

N.B. utterly is only used with negative adjectives, and intensely with positive ones. The rest can be used with positive, neutral and negative adjectives.

 
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