Unit 43 Adverbials of degree

Main points

* Adverbs of degree usually modify verbs.

* Some adverbs of degree can modify adjectives, other adverbs, or clauses.

1 You use adverbs of degree to modify verbs. They make the verb stronger or weaker.
I totally disagree.
I can nearly swim.

2 Some adverbs can come in front of a main verb, after a main verb, or after the object if there is one.


Mr Brooke strongly criticized the Bank of England.
I disagree completely with John Taylor.
That argument doesn’t convince me totally.

Some adverbs are mostly used in front of the verb.


He almost crashed into a lorry.

Note that `really’ is used at the beginning of a clause to express surprise, and at the end of a clause as an adverb of manner.
Really, I didn’t know that!
He wanted it really, but was too shy to ask.

`A lot’ and `very much’ come after the main verb if there is no object, or after the object.
She helped a lot.
We liked him very much.

`Very much’ can come after the subject and in front of verbs like `want’, `prefer’, and `enjoy’.
I very much wanted to take it with me.

3 Some adverbs of degree go in front of adjectives or other adverbs and modify them.


…a fairly large office, with filing space.

Note that you can use `rather’ before or after `a’ or `an’ followed by an adjective and a noun.
Seaford is rather a pleasant town.
It is a rather complicated story.

When `quite’ means `fairly’, you put it in front of `a’ or `an’ followed by an adjective and a noun.
My father gave me quite a large sum of money.

However, when `quite’ means `extremely’, you can put it after `a’. You can say `a quite enormous sum’.

4 You use some adverbs of degree to modify clauses and prepositional phrases.


Are you saying that simply because I am here?
I don’t think it’s worth going just for a day.

5 You use `so’ and `such’ to emphasize a quality that someone or something has. `So’ can be followed by an adjective, an adverb, or a noun group beginning with `many’, `much’, `few’, or `little’.
John is so interesting to talk to.
Science is changing so rapidly.
I want to do so many different things.

`Such’ is followed by a singular noun group with `a’, or a plural noun group.
There was such a noise we couldn’t hear.
They said such nasty things .

WARNING: `So’ is never followed by a singular noun group with `a’ or a plural noun group.

6 You use `too’ when you mean `more than is necessary’ or `more than is good’. You can use `too’ before adjectives and adverbs, and before `many’, `much’, `few’, or `little’.
The prices are too high.
I’ve been paying too much tax.

You use `enough’ after adjectives and adverbs.
I waited until my daughter was old enough to read.
He didn’t work quickly enough.

Note that `enough’ is also a determiner.
We’ve got enough money to buy that car now.

7 You use emphasizing adverbs to modify adjectives such as `astonishing’, `furious’, and `wonderful’, which express extreme qualities.


I think he’s absolutely wonderful.