Regular adjectives vs Strong adjectives

Strong or extreme adjectives are more expressive than regular or normal adjectives. See these examples below:

  • I’m tired (tired is a regular adjective).
  • I’m exhausted (exhausted is a strong adjective).

We can use some adverbs with regular and strong adjectives. 

  • I’m very tired* (= I’m exhausted).

* “very tired” means exhausted.

We can use very with regular adjectives but we can not use very with strong adjectives.

Adverbs used with regular adjectives:

  • very, extremely, immensely, intensely, hugely

We can not use these adverbs above with strong adjectives. There are other adverbs that are used to give additional emphasis to the strong adjectives.

Adverbs used with strong adjectives:

  • absolutely, completely, utterly

Example: I’m absolutely exhausted.

Really and  pretty can be used with both regular and strong adjectives. Look at these sentences below:

  • I’m really/pretty tired.
  • I’m really/pretty exhausted.


Here’s a list of some regular adjectives and their strong adjectives:

Normal adjectives                                  Strong adjectives

bigenormous; huge, gigantic, giant, immense, colossal
smalltiny, minute, minuscule interestingfascinating,gripping                                                                                                                                                        sad, upsetdevastated, heartbroken, shattered                                                                                                                                                happythrilled, delighted, ecstatic, overjoyed, over the moon                     surprisedamazed, astonished, astounded, flabbergasted, speechless     surprisingastounding                                                                                                            funny,amusinghilarious                                                                                                                                       goodexcellent, perfect, ideal, wonderful, marvellous, amazing, splendid, great, fantastic, superb, smashing                                                                                                  bad, nastyawful, terrible, disgusting, dreadful, horrible, revolting uglyawful, hideous                                                                                                                                                             beautiful, pretty, good-looking, attractivegorgeous, stunning                                                                                                                                                            fatobese                                                                                                                                                                                                    cleverbrilliant                                                                            sillyridiculous, ludicrous, idiotic                                                  annoyinginfuriating, exasperating                                                                                                                                                                                            surecertain,positive                                                                                                                                                                            similaridentical                                                                                                                                                            unusualunique
hungrystarving, famished
tastydelicious                                                                                                                                                        thirstyparched                                                                                                                                                            hotboiling, stifling, baking                                                                                                                                                          coldfreezing, frozen                                                                                                                                wetsoaked, drenched                                                                                                                                                                               afraidterrified                                                                                                                                                                         scared, frightenedterrified, petrified                                                                       scaryterrifying                                                                                                                                                                                                                   angryfurious, livid                                                                                                difficultimpossible                                                                                                                                                        tiredexhausted                                                                                                                                                       dirtyfilthy                                                                                                                                                                   cleanspotless, immaculate                                                                                                                                             crowdedpacked                                                                                                                                                             oldancient                                                                                                                                                                 spoiledruined                                                                                                                                               expensiveextortionate,astronomical                                                                                                          valuablepriceless

I found out a very interesting website that explains a little more about extreme adjectives and regular adjectives in English. See more at: Extreme Adjectives in English

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