There are many simple things that we use every day in our language and don’t even know that we are using them. It’s like we know their purpose and meaning but are unaware of what they are called. One such thing is an intensifier.
You have been using intensifiers in your sentences since you started to speak as a child but if someone asks you ‘what is an intensifier?’, you will be straight up blank.
Today I will throw some light on intensifiers, what they mean and how we use them in our daily language without even realizing.
An intensifier is a word that helps you express what you want to say more clearly. By definition, an intensifier acts as a modifier that either gives strength or weakens another word. The word an intensifier modifies is the one that follows it.
The chicken is very delicious.
In the above example, very is the intensifier which gives strength to the adjective delicious.
Notice that the intensifier in itself does not have a definite meaning and if it is removed from the sentence, the sentence still makes sense.
Consider the same example without intensifier;
The chicken is delicious.
The above sentence makes perfect sense so we can add or remove an intensifier from a sentence without altering its meaning.
Thus the sole purpose of an intensifier is to intensify the quality of the word next to it.
The game is really boring.
The word really is an intensifier in this case which is strengthening the adjective boring. The presence of really intensifies the meaning of boring indicating that the game was very boring.
In the same way, intensifiers are also used to weaken the quality ir intensity of an adjective or adverb in a sentence.
He was quite nervous.
The word quite here indicates that the subject (he) was really nervous hence it furthers weakens the intensity of the adjective. Thus quite is an intensifier in this example.
You look terribly awful.
In the same way, terribly is an intensifier that weakens the quality of the word awful.
In a nutshell, intensifiers are adjectives or adverbs that modify the adjectives and adverbs following it.