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Lesson 1.8b Modifiers of Adverbs – Degree Words or Intensifiers

downloadable worksheet


There is a group of words that are sometimes called adverbs which actually are a category distinct from Adverb. These degree words (also sometimes called intensifiers) include words like very, so, too, rather, and quite. They serve to express degree of an adjective or adverb.


            I ran very quickly.                         very is a Degree word modifying adverb quickly

            They are running so fast.             so is a Degree word modifying adverb fast

 She is rather happy.                     rather is a Degree word modifying adjective happy


Notice how adverbs cannot appear in these positions, modifying adverbs or adjectives:


            *She is quickly happy.

            *They are running quickly fast.


Recall that in general adverbs modify verbs; however, there are a few adverbs that can modify adjectives that do not express degree.


            She is obviously surprised.          - obviously is an adverb modifying the adjective surprised 

            They are probably happy.            - probably is an adverb modifying the adjective happy 


Most -ly forms that precede adjectives, however, are degree words.


            She is incredibly tired.            incredibly = degree

            We are really excited.              really = degree


Determine what each of the following underlined words is modifying and whether it is an adverb or degree word.


            The chair is significantly damaged.

            The student was unexpectedly nervous.

            The teacher is visibly frustrated.

            The owl is thought to be inherently wise.

            The test was incredibly easy.

            My friend is overly competitive.

            Your room is meticulously neat.

            It’s horribly cold outside!

            This purse is outrageously expensive.

            The cake is sinfully delicious.           


key words: adverbs, degree words, intensifiers


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.1a Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences. 


Here is this lesson as a pdf.

Here are the answer to the worksheet.

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