7 Common Intensifiers to Improve your English Fluency

Do you want to take your English to the next level? Today, let’s learn advanced expressions with intensifiers that will make you sound more fluent.

I wrote a related article a while back about intensifiers, which focused on the use of VERY and its variations. As a recap, native speakers use a variety of terms to describe something or someone. So other than using VERY to describe the degree of something, we actually have several choices of words that will make us become effective English speakers. Using these words in our writing will also make our work stand out and catch more attention.

Intensifiers are adverbs of degree that tell us about the intensity of something. These are usually placed before adjectives, verbs, or another adverb to make them stronger. Examples of adverb of degree other than VERY, are enough, too, more and extremely.

Look at these examples:

Turtles walk very slowly.

There’s not enough rain this year.

Alfred’s wife is too young.

This rock is extremely heavy!

The city on the east coast is more beautiful than the one in the northern end of the island.

 

Here are other intensifiers that are most commonly used in casual conversations: really, quite, pretty, fairly, and rather.

VERY and REALLY mean the same thing. They make an adjective or adverb stronger.

She did very well on the test.

She did really well on the test.

QUITE is not as strong as VERY or REALLY.

It’s quite warm outside.

(This means, it is warm but not very hot.)

She’s not quite sure about joining the group.

(This means, she’s sure but not 100%.)

Also, note that QUITE is more common in British English than in American English.

FAIRLY, PRETTY, and RATHER mean the same thing. We use these words when something is better than average but not great.

It’s a fairly big tree.

The diamond ring is fairly expensive.

The concert was pretty good.

The restaurant is rather expensive.

Look at how we use these intensifiers in this sequence by looking at the star ratings. To state something positive, you say:

It is very good. (5 stars)

It is really good. (5 stars)

It is quite good. (3 stars)

It is fairly good. (2 stars)

It is pretty good. (2 stars)

It is rather good. (2 stars)

Let’s take a look at this general situation:

Ben likes the outdoors.

Ben really likes the outdoors.

Here you can see that REALLY is an intensifier. It strengthens or emphasizes the verb. Ben doesn’t only like the outdoors, he REALLY likes it!

This time, let’s have a business situation:

We appreciate your services. (no intensifier)

We really appreciate your services.

As you’ve already seen, we don’t use only REALLY or VERY as intensifiers.  There are many other words, too. In general daily situations, you may use these two frequently because these are casual situations. But don’t you think it’s going to be so boring to keep saying REALLY or VERY all the time?

In business situations, you want to use better English terms. You may need to use more advanced expressions in formal settings.

When you see an intensifier + verb that are usually used together, they are called COLLOCATIONS or word combinations. Collocations are two words used together very frequently, so native speakers expect to hear them being used together.

Advantages of using COLLOCATIONS:

-When you use them, you’d sound more natural. You also sound a bit more formal, educated, refined, cultured, and most of all more advanced and fluent in English. You can use these in speaking and writing, that’s why it’s important to be familiar with these collocations.

-You can use these in social and business situations, especially in negotiations, meetings, customer service, discussions, seminars, or presentations.

-You can use these in academic situations like essays, TOEFL, and IELTS. Imagine when you start using these types of expressions rather than regular vocabulary, you’re going get higher marks in school and in your tests.

7 Commonly used Collocations in formal English

We will study SEVEN collocations or expressions used very commonly in academic and business circles. It depends on the situation, but you don’t have to use these collocations when speaking with friends.  They are more appropriate for business situations.

1) DEEPLY REGRET (sorry)

We deeply regret the inconvenience this tech issue had caused you.

The staff deeply regrets the inconvenience to our clients because of the delay in delivery.

I deeply regret missing your wedding.

2) SINCERELY HOPE (wish)

We sincerely hope you’d visit again next time.

I sincerely hope you achieve your goals.

I sincerely hope you like the updated version.

3) STRONGLY RECOMMEND (means advice or suggestion)

We strongly recommend you make backup copies of your files.

I strongly recommend you go to the hospital. You don’t look too well.

4) FULLY RECOGNIZE (know)

We fully recognize your contribution to the growth of this company.

*In this scenario, somebody did a lot of work and is being recognized.

I fully recognize the importance of learning new skills.

*This means you fully understand the value of something.

5) HONESTLY BELIEVE (think)

We honestly believe he is innocent.

You’ve been doing such a good job.  I honestly believe you deserve a promotion.

I honestly believe you deserve a long vacation.

We honestly believe you deserve a bonus.

6) HIGHLY ENCOURAGE (recommend)

We highly encourage our students to use the 3rd edition of this Science book.

I highly encourage you to use this new feature to help boost your sales.

7) TRULY APPRECIATE

We truly appreciate your creativity and effort.

In the examples, I wrote WE or I, but in actual situations, you can use any pronoun or name of a person.

Just remember that intensifiers always have a verb, adverb, or adjective with them. Collocations are word pairs frequently used together and are widely recognized as good expressions to use. So practice these collocations as often as you can. These seven intensifier expressions are more advanced.  And, these are good ways to get a higher mark on a test or help advance your career by using more sophisticated English.

So, here are important tips to remember:

Even if it’s good to use these expressions, don’t use them all the time in the same piece of writing. Since these are formal expressions, they come across a little too heavy. You can use one or two collocations, but don’t use too many of them at one time because they are strong. You may use these words when you speak, but be careful not to use them too much! Not everything is really good—especially when overused!

Finally, before we end, I wrote a special paragraph for you where I integrated all the collocations discussed earlier. But this is only a sample and not ideal for formal writing. So, just have fun!

I sincerely hope you start reading more English books, articles, and other pieces of literature. I fully recognize this can be challenging. I deeply regret there’s NO instant solution or magic potion for learning English overnight, but I honestly believe that you can if you’re determined to do it. I strongly recommend you watch English grammar video lessons, listen to English audio books, and use English words as often as you can. Finally, I highly encourage you to practice writing in English every day–as this builds up your writing skills and expands your vocabulary.

As a practice, choose one expression and write a sentence a day. I sincerely hope that today’s article was super helpful to you!


Author
I have a passion for the English language because it is such a powerful tool for creativity and personal development. I've been writing articles since I was in High School. I represented my school in English writing competitions in the city, regional, and national levels. When I was in college, I wrote a short story which was published in the University Literary Portfolio. In 2006, I worked as a call center agent in Cebu City. In 2007 up to 2008, I worked as an English accent trainer in a startup call center company. I have also been offering ESL lessons as a freelance tutor since February 2016.