Adverbs of Degree

What are Adverbs of Degree?

Adverbs of degree are words that measure the intensity of different parts of speech such as verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. These modifiers can either enhance or reduce the impact of what they modify and typically come before the word they describe. They’re generally used with adjectives. Adverbs of degree can present how strong emotions are or how powerful something’s quality is. While common adverbs that decrease intensity are instantly recognizable, the ones used to indicate strong intensity can be subjective. 

In the following examples, the adverbs of degree are used to express strong intensity:

  • Margaret was quite sleepy during the commute.
  • Sharon was unusually early at the office yesterday.

The following sentences show adverbs of degree that express very strong intensity:

  • Presley was wonderfully surprised by his team’s gift.
  • I’m extremely hungry, so let’s find somewhere to eat now.

In the sentences below, the adverbs of degree express doubtful or weakened intensity:

  • Hassan was fairly certain he left his keys there.
  • Donita wasn’t particularly fond of sweets.
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Adverbs of Degree Rules

Adverbs are used to describe or modify verbs. They give details to actions, which creates a more interesting narrative.Take a look at the following examples:

– Candace recommends jogging.
– Candace strongly recommends jogging.

The second sentence helps you picture the force or extent of Candace’s actions. Perhaps jogging is required at this point and not just a normal recommendation.
An adverb can also describe or modify an adjective. It can intensify or weaken the meaning that the adjective expresses.Take a look at these examples:

– I don’t quite understand your request.
– He rarely left my side while I was sick.
Adverbs of Degree Rules Table

Adverbs of Degree Spelling Rules

Most adverb forms require adding the letters “–ly” at the end of adjectives.extreme – extremely
unusual – unusually
intense – intensely
For adjectives that end in “–able,” “–ible,” and “–le,” change the “–e” to “–y.”incredible –incredibly
terrible – terribly
remarkable – remarkably
Adverbs of Degree Spelling Rules Table

Examples of Adverbs of Degree

Below are more sample sentences of adverbs in use.

1. Anita easily built the miniature castle.

2. She felt horribly underdressed during the charity luncheon.

3. The parade floats are extremely colorful!

4. Jake didn’t feel particularly included in the conversation.

5. Mason played well at his audition.

6. They strongly advised him against it.

7. We all thought the film was really good.

8. The task proved very difficult when it began to rain.

9. Yolanda visits the orphanage quite often.

10. David barely completed the papers required for the visa.

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Adverbs of Degree Exercises with Answers

Exercise on Adverbs of Degree

Complete each sentence below by choosing the best adverb of degree from the box. (Note: a few answers might be applicable to multiple sentences.)

too        mostly        really       almost        exceptionally
very        strongly        pretty        unusually        completely
Adverbs of Degree Exercise Choices Box

1. The venue was __________ empty by 9 p.m.

2. Don’t worry, the convention is _______ over. No more boring lectures.

3. Studying this level of mathematics looks __________ challenging.

4. The veterinarian _________ recommended vaccinating dogs for common diseases.

5. Yesterday’s football game went on __________ well without any incidents.

6. It’s difficult to move. This place is __________ crowded.

7. Harry felt __________ lucky to have been able to work with such amazing people.

8. I __________ sympathize with their situation and will be here if they need anything.

9. Snow is __________ thick this year, don’t you think?

10. Johnson felt __________ awful for his behavior earlier.


1. The venue was mostly empty by 9 p.m.

2. Don’t worry, the convention is almost over. No more boring lectures.

3. Studying this level of mathematics looks very challenging.

4. The veterinarian strongly recommended vaccinating dogs for common diseases.

5. Yesterday’s football game went on pretty well without any incidents.

6. It’s difficult to move. This place is too crowded.

7. Harry felt exceptionally lucky to have been able to work with such amazing people.

8. I completely sympathize with their situation and will be here if they need anything.

9. Snow is unusually thick this year, don’t you think?

10. Johnson felt really awful for his behavior earlier.

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Adverbs of Degree List

The following is a list of adverbs of degree.

Examples of Adverbs of Degree
Adverbs of Degree Examples Table

Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

As a modifier, an adverb of degree helps in adding detail and information to different parts of speech, especially adjectives. Like most types of adverbs, adverbs of degree include both positive and negative forms but are applied less in comparisons. Adverbs of degree help paint a fuller picture of the quality and impact that sentences are trying to convey. This makes adverbs important in refining the meanings of other words. In order to master adverbs of degree, ESL and English language learners must hone their understanding of how they function, followed by memorizing rules in placement and spelling. Next, they should practice it in their daily language usage to improve background knowledge and retention. Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand adverbs of clause and adverbs of manner.

Common Errors Made by English Learners

There are several errors that English language learners have in common when it comes to adverbs of degree. The most common is improper differentiation between adverbs with adjectives. In several cases, the adjective and adverb forms look the same, making them even more confusing and hard to distinguish. Another error is the wrong position of adverbs. Many students struggle with the correct placement of adverbs in sentences, which can sometimes make sentences grammatically correct, but nonsensical in meaning. The best way to avoid these errors is to become familiar with how adverbs are used by learning, applying, and reviewing their forms and functions.

Common ErrorsExplanationExample
EnoughThe placement of the word “enough” is a problem for ESL students, partly because they’re translating directly from or following the placement of their mother tongue. The adverb “enough” comes after the word it modifies.Here are examples of incorrect and correct placements:

– The parking space is enough big for three vehicles. – Is he powerful enough to influence the board?

– The parking space is big enough for three vehicles. – Is he enough powerful to influence the board?
Good And Well“Good” is an adjective, and well is its adverb counterpart. Many students mix these two words up. One of the reasons is that “well” can be used as an adjective when talking about health and well-being. The rule of thumb is to identify the word that is being modified. If it’s a noun, then you should use “good.”Look at the sentences below:

– My uncle is a good dancer.
– My uncle dances well.

In the first sentence, the word “good” describes “dancer.” Dancer is a noun and needs an adjective to modify it, hence the use of “good.” In the second sentence, the word “well” describes “dances.” Dances is a verb and needs an adverb to modify it, which is why “well” is used.
Very and TooMany English learners think that these two words are interchangeable. They might have similar meanings in that they’re both used to emphasize adjectives, but there’s an important distinction between them. “Very” states facts. “Too,” on the other hand, is used to express that something is more than adequate or over the limit, so it’s used to indicate something in a negative way.Compare the following sentences:

– He is very short.
– He is too short.

The first sentence expresses that he is shorter than normal. The second sentence has a similar meaning but also implies that his height is excessively short and is meant negatively. Let’s look at the same sentences, this time with implied meanings.

– He is very short. (Most people are taller than him.)
– He is too short. (It’s difficult to look for him in a crowd.)

Additionally, because English language learners confuse very and too, they often come up with nonsensical statements such as:

– He’s too handsome.
– Layla is too happy.
– The cake is too delicious!

The best way to avoid confusion is to remember that if the sentence has a factual meaning, use “very.” And if it has a negative meaning, use “too.”
Common Errors with Adverbs of Degree Table
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Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Adverbs of Degree

Students can adverbs effectively in various ways. English language learners need to:

  • Identify adjectives and adverbs accurately.
  • Place adverbs of degree in their correct position.
  • Master how adverbs relate to linking verbs.

Here are some pointers to strengthen your understanding of adverbs.

Learning Strategies and Best PracticesExplanationExample
Adjectives and Adverbs with the Same FormsTypically, an adverb ends in the letters -ly, However, some appear exactly the same as their adjective counterparts. The best way to tell them apart is to identify what part of speech the word is modifying.Let’s look at the examples below:

– It needs less sugar.
– I’m less familiar with that issue.

In the first sentence, the word “less” describes the word sugar. The word sugar is a noun, therefore “less” is an adjective. In the second sentence, “less” modifies the word familiar. The word familiar is an adjective, therefore “less” is an adverb. Let’s look at another example:

– The room is pretty.
– The suitcase is pretty heavy.

In the first sentence, the word “pretty” describes the word room. The word room is a noun, therefore “pretty” is an adjective. In the second sentence, “pretty” modifies the word heavy. The word heavy is an adjective, therefore “pretty” is an adverb.
Adverb PlacementThe adverb of degree “too” can be followed by an infinitive phrase (to + base form of verb + rest of the phrase) It can also be followed by phrases that start with “for”. “Too” normally goes before the word it modifies. For example:

– Maya’s bag is too small.
– The store is too far.

With infinitive phrases:

– Jamil is too thin to qualify for the job.
– Gina was too hungover to get up early.

With phrases that start with “for”:

– Her expectations were too much for me.
– The hall is too spacious for our group.
Self-directed PracticeSelf-study and non-academic interactions are two great ways to improve your proficiency with adverbs of degree.Language Lists
Lists can show language forms and sentence examples, making any grammatical concept easier to see, remember, and use. 

Language Exposure
Reading, audio, and video materials are great resources to help broaden your vocabulary and see how native speakers use English in a variety of contexts, topics, and areas of expertise. You can also learn the difference between formal and informal English.

Language Exchange
Use what you’ve learned in daily conversations with fellow learners and English-speaking friends. This will eventually make you sound more confident and natural, and also use the English language with ease.
Learning Strategies and Best Practices with Adverbs of Degree Table
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Adverbs of Degree Frequently Asked Questions

Adverbs of intensity are actually the same as adverbs of degree. Some reference books prefer one term to the other, but they actually both mean the same thing.

Adverbs of manner answer the question “how” or “in what way”; meanwhile, adverbs of degree answer the question “to what extent,” “to what degree,” or “how much?”. The blog has a number of examples you can review and refer to for adverbs of degree or intensity. For adverbs of manner, you can type a query in the blog’s search bar to access other grammar pages dedicated to adverbs. 

Modifiers describe other parts of speech, particularly nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. They change or add meaning to the words they describe, providing more details or explanations to describe actions and conditions. Adjectives and adverbs (along with phrases used for the same functions) are the most common examples of modifiers. Adjectives modify nouns, while adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, and phrases that have the same functions.

In some grammar books, adverbs are further classified into two types: affirmative and negative adverbs. This is simply to differentiate between adverbs that express positive meanings and adverbs that describe things negatively, which is a method applicable for some ESL learners to understand the concept of adverbs better. Some examples of affirmation are surely, definitely, certainly, exactly, obviously, etc. Some examples of negation are never, invalidly, nowhere, almost, scarcely, etc.

Example Sentences with Adverbs of Affirmation:

– The family will surely give you a call.
– I want to express exactly what I mean.
Obviously, they were impressed with your work.

Example Sentences with Adverbs of Negation:

– Shaylene had nowhere to go.
– You were supposed to never find out.
– I almost got a perfect mark.

Here are the five common types of adverbs with examples:

1. Adverbs of Frequency (answers the question “how often?”)
Examples: sometimes, never, typically, rarely, seldom

2. Adverbs of Manner (answers the question “in what way?”)
Examples: quickly, smoothly, happily, sadly, roughly

3. Adverbs of Place (answers the question “where?”)
Examples: inside, here, there, upstairs, beside

4. Adverbs of Degree (answers the question “to what extent?”)
Examples: very, enough, quite, somewhat, terribly

5. Adverbs of Time (answers the question “when?”)
Example: later, soon, tomorrow, tonight, immediately

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