Each of those who are learning English, must sooner or later be faced with a problem: how else to say «very» or «very much»? This is usually an adverb used to enhance the quality of the adjectives that are called weak (big, good, bad, funny, tired).
For example, It’s very interesting book. I was very tired.
But in English there are also strong adjectives (extreme or strong adjectives), which have vivid stylistic coloring and are more expressive counterparts weak adjectives. For example, big — huge, good — excellent, bad — terrible. But even these adjectives can be made brighter and give them a certain emotional. An alternative to «very» in this case are the following amplifying adverbs (intensifying adverbs): highly, extremely, absolutely, deeply, bitterly, strongly, ridiculously. It’s not all adverbs of this kind, there are many others, but we will stop and consider these as there are well-defined rules for combining each of them with one or other adjectives and verbs, which together form collocations (set phrases). And since the purpose of any person learning English — it’s not easy to talk in English, and speak like a native speaker, the following rules are required to memorize and use in practice.
| (un) likely
hurt (of feelings)
HIGHLY (very, very, very)
EXTREMELY (extremely, immensely)
Used with words expressing possibility / probability. Except for highly controversial, usually combined with adjectives, has a positive connotation (eg effective, successful).
Extremely it can also be used with all the adjectives in the table, except recommended.
Some people love her new book, others are very angry about it. It’s highly controversial.
Jill’s highly unusual behavior began to worry her parents.
ABSOLUTELY (totally, completely)
UTTERLY / ʌtɚli / (utterly, completely)
Both dialects, of which utterly is more formal, combined with adjectives, which were originally meant in its meaning «very», like, exhausted (very tired — exhausted, haggard, like a squeezed lemon) or hilarious (very funny — hilarious, funny) . Thus, we say absolutely / utterly exhausted / hilarious, but these options are less bright and funny tired adjectives usually used in combination with a very. It should be remembered that the following combinations are wrong
absolutely / utterly tired and very exhausted. Often, but not always, these phrases have a negative connotation (eg utterly devastated).
Baby seals look so utterly defenceless, do not they?
You look absolutely ridiculous in that hat.
DEEPLY (deep, strong, very)
As a rule, combined with words that express feelings and emotions, thus emphasizing their strength or depth. Most often used in writing than in speech.
I deeply regret having said that to you.
BITTERLY (bitter, hard, painful)
Use the words that express negative emotions, for example, conveys a feeling of deep sadness, discouragement (disappointed, regret, cry) or anger / irritation (resent, complain). Also as deeply often used in writing than in speech.
I was bitterly disappointed with my exam result.
He complained bitterly about the crowds.
STRONGLY (strongly, strongly, strongly)
It is used with verbs that express a certain opinion or attitude towards something.
We strongly recommend that you think your decision over.
RIDICULOUSLY (ridiculous, absurd, outrageous)
This dialect is used when we want to emphasize the extreme, excessive or minimal anything, what we believe is difficult.
She wears ridiculously high heels.
The restaurant was ridiculously expensive. I do not think we’ll go there again.
And at the end of the article I suggest that you take the test and fix all of the above material in practice.