Students understanding the complexity of language

Chapter 01-11: Qualifiers


chapter 1: Qualifiers

Prototypical qualifiers usually precede adjectives or adverbs in  order to decrease or increase the quality signified by the words they precede. For example:
Before a big test, it matters if you’re a little bit nervous, quite nervous, or very, very nervous.
Some prototypical qualifiers can be phrasal: a bit, kind of, a little.
Use a variation on the adjective frame to identify most qualifiers:
  • The handsome man seems ________ handsome.
  • The handsome man seems very handsome.
  • The handsome man seems quite handsome.
  • The handsome man seems pretty handsome.
  • The handsome man seems less handsome
 The most common qualifiers include very,  quite, pretty, less, least, rather, somewhat, more, most, too, so, just,  enough, indeed, still, almost, fairly, really, even, a bit, a little, a  (whole) lot, a good deal, a great deal, kind of, sort of.
In peripheral cases, adverbs can occupy a qualifier position and perform a similar function:
  • The handsome man seems intensely handsome.
  • The handsome man seems excessively handsome.
 Intensely and excessively remain adverbs. Note that unlike prototypical qualifiers, they can themselves be qualified: very intenselyquite excessively. In contrast, prototypical qualifiers like very and quite cannot take qualifiers: a little very and pretty quite do not parse.
Don’t confuse them though. Qualifiers are not adverbs!