Intensifiers are adverbs or adverbial phrases that strengthen the meaning of other expressions and show emphasis. Words that we commonly use as intensifiers include absolutely, completely, extremely, highly, rather, really, so, too, totally, utterly, very and at all:
She was so upset. I felt extremely sorry for her.
She has a very strict teacher.
Don’t work too hard. Sometimes you’ll get more done by relaxing a bit.
I don’t think she understood the topic and her essay was rather a mess.
She’s really offended her sister.
At all is a very common intensifier with negative expressions:
Are there no suitable DVDs at all?
I’m afraid I’m not at all interested.
We also use on earth and ever as intensifiers with wh-words:
What on earth is he doing? (suggests disapproval)
Why did I ever invite them to stay with us? (suggests that there were problems)
These are examples of intensifiers:
- I strongly disagree.
- It's extremely hot in Africa.
- You play soccer very well.
- Do you really mean it.
- It's fairly interesting.
- It's quite calm here.
- He's pretty intelligent.
- These students are rather noisy.
- I so wanted to buy the dress.
- She writes poems too often.
- It's absolutely amazing.
- I am a little angry with her.