Here are the most common qualifiers in English (though some of these words have other functions as well): very, quite, rather, somewhat, more, most, less, least, too, so, just, enough, indeed, still, almost, fairly, really, pretty, even, a bit, a little, a (whole) lot, a good deal, a great deal, kind of, sort of.
- Totally Overworked Words: The Use and Abuse of Qualifiers and Intensifiers
- Absolute Adjective
- Degree Modifier
Etymology:From the Latin, "to attribute a quality to"
Examples and Observations:
- "Traditional grammarians usually classified qualifiers as adverbs of degree, and at first glance, judging on the basis of meaning and function, this seems reasonable. Degree adverbs--like completely, absolutely, extremely, and excessively--can fit into the same position as the prototype, and they have similar meanings.
"However, qualifiers are not true adverbs; they fail to fulfill several of the criteria for adverbs . . .. First, qualifiers do not modify verbs. . . . Second, with one or two exceptions, like really and fairly, qualifiers do not have adverb derivational suffixes. Third, qualifiers cannot be made comparative or superlative . . .. And fourth, qualifiers do not intensify."
(Thomas P. Klammer and Muriel R. Schulz, Analyzing English Grammar. Allyn and Bacon, 1992)
- "If people would dare to speak to one another unreservedly, there would be a good deal less sorrow in the world a hundred years hence."
- "Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly."
- "Avoid the use of qualifiers.
Rather, very, little, pretty--these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words. The constant use of the adjective little (except to indicate size) is particularly debilitating; we should all try to do a little better, we should all be very watchful of this rule, for it is a rather important one and we are pretty sure to violate it now and then."
(William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, 3rd ed. Macmillan, 1979)
- "It's pretty hard to be efficient without being obnoxious."
- "In fact, death seems to have been a rather late invention in evolution. One can go a long way in evolution before encountering an authentic corpse."