AIM: To introduce the concept of extreme adjectives and practise using them.

INTRODUCTION: Many adjectives can be modified using other words to strengthen or weaken their meaning. These examples come from the back pain case. These are called base adjectives.

  • It feels pretty bad all the time.
  • It was a bit hard to get to a swimming pool.
  • That’s a very good idea.
Other adjectives cannot be modified with these words because they already have an extreme meaning. However, they can be emphasised using other words. These are called extreme adjectives.
  • He was completely soaked and absolutely freezing after the accident.
  • He was very soaked and quite freezing after the accident.
Some words can modify both base and extreme adjectives, e.g., really.
  • base: They’re very angry. They’re really angry. They’re absolutely angry.
  • extreme: They’re absolutely furious. They’re really furious. They’re very furious.

INSTRUCTIONS: Choose the extreme adjective from the box that best completes each sentence.

The pain is awful – absolutely _____! I can’t sleep at all.
He’s been confused and difficult to understand for a while, but today he’s totally _____.
We knew he’d be very upset about the news. In fact, he seems utterly ____.
We were _____ that dad never told us he had a twin brother – what a surprise!
I think my hearing is damaged; the machines at work can be really _____.
I read that the effects of the new treatment were positive; I never thought they’d be quite so _____ though.
The exercises the physio gave me take all my energy and make me _____.
Initially, she refused to have the injection because she’s totally ______ of them.
I am not allowed to eat until after the tests are done. I’ll be _____! I never miss a meal.
What we’re looking for is very small – absolutely _____, actually.
Please answer every question before continuing.

FOLLOW-UP: Consider what the base adjective is for each of the extreme adjectives in the activity.
Keep a note of further extreme adjectives using a Vocabulary Sheet. Remember to record where the word stress falls too (e.g. `pet-ri-fied).