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    #1

    Base / Strong adjectives

    Hullo afresh


    May anyone clarify what's the difference between base adjectives and strong adjectives and how can I differentiate between them ? And why are those sentences wrong?


    1- She is very beautiful*


    2- I was very exhausted*


    And is it right that we use very with base adjectives and absolutely with strong adjectives ?!and whY?


    And I'll be thankful



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    #2

    Re: Base / Strong adjectives

    /A learner/

    Until now, I've heard for attributive and non-attributive adjectives and not for base and strong.

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    #3

    Re: Base / Strong adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by e2e4 View Post
    /A learner/

    Until now, I've heard for attributive and non-attributive adjectives and not for base and strong.
    But I've got it in my English Course!

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    #4

    Re: Base / Strong adjectives

    Base adjectives are those which just denote some basic features. Strong adjectives are those which denote extreme features.

    Some sample pairs:

    good - great
    good - fantastic
    bad - terrible
    big - enormous
    small - tiny

    Why is it not good to use "very" with strong adjectives? Because some people find it pleonasmic. They think this way: "Why would I need to say 'very enormous'? 'Enormous' has 'very' in its definition, because it means 'very big'. So let's not use 'very' twice. It would be incorrect to say 'very enormous' because it would mean 'very (very big)' and you can't gradate 'very big'."

    It must be said though that strong adjectives tend to lose their strength. In some circles, people call "fantastic" everything they find good, and calling something "good" can even sound pejorative to them! Then if everything good is "fantastic", how shold they call something very good? "Very fantastic" of course!

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    #5

    Re: Base / Strong adjectives

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Shakespeare View Post
    Hullo afresh



    May anyone clarify what's the difference between base adjectives and strong adjectives and how can I differentiate between them ? And why are those sentences wrong?


    1- She is very beautiful*


    2- I was very exhausted*


















































    And is it right that we use very with base adjectives and absolutely with strong adjectives ?!and whY?


    And I'll be thankful



    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Sir Shakespeare,

    Thank you very much for your question. I am also waiting for a teacher

    to answer. I will share with you the very little that I have learned.

    (1) I do not think grammar books here in the United States use the

    terms "base" and "strong" adjectives. I did some googling. I think

    (think) that most Americans use the word gradable adjectives

    (for "base" or "weak" adjectives) and the word non-gradable

    adjectives ( for "strong" adjectives).

    (2) As you know "gradable" (base) adjectives have degrees. For example,

    "old" is a gradable adjective because you can say old/older/oldest. So

    I can say that I am very old.

    (3) Non-gradable (strong) adjectives cannot have degrees. The books

    tell us not to say "very dead." A person is dead or not dead. You cannot

    say that X is deader than Y. Both X and Y are dead. That's it.

    (3) Yes, I have read that some people classify "beautiful" as a

    non-gradable adjective. They say that you cannot say "very"

    beautiful. But I think that most Americans feel that "very beautiful"

    is good English. We often say that X is more beautiful than Y. Of course,

    if your teacher says that "very beautiful" is wrong, you must not

    disagree with him/her. But I think that other posters will agree that

    native speakers have no problem with "very beautiful."

    (4) Regarding "exhausted," I found on the Internet a lesson from the

    BBC (that wonderful radio station in London). It says that "exhausted"

    is a non-gradable adjective. I guess that means that you are exhausted

    or not exhausted (like "dead," "perfect," "unique," etc.). So that lesson

    says you should not say "very exhausted." Rather, you should say:

    "absolutely exhausted."

    Well, that is all that I know (think I know) about this matter, so I shall

    stop and wait for the teachers to explain more to us.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

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    #6

    Re: Base / Strong adjectives

    /A learner/

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (3) Yes, I have read that some people classify "beautiful" as a

    non-gradable adjective. They say that you cannot say "very"

    beautiful. But I think that most Americans feel that "very beautiful"

    is good English. We often say that X is more beautiful than Y. Of course,

    if your teacher says that "very beautiful" is wrong, you must not

    disagree with him/her. But I think that other posters will agree that

    native speakers have no problem with "very beautiful."
    I saw a girl who was extremely beautiful in front of a huge building, today.



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    #7

    Re: Base / Strong adjectives

    Well, I'm beholden to both of you; Mr The Parser and Mrs Birdeen's call for this elaborate explanation!

    I do not think grammar books here in the United States use the

    terms "base" and "strong" adjectives. I did some googling. I think

    (think) that most Americans use the word gradable adjectives

    (for "base" or "weak" adjectives) and the word non-gradable

    adjectives ( for "strong" adjectives).

    Yep! Even in most of my British books, they never use such terms "base" and "strong" and this is the first time I've come across them despite the fact I'm a student of English!

    Why would I need to say 'very enormous'? 'Enormous' has 'very' in its definition, because it means 'very big'. So let's not use 'very' twice. It would be incorrect to say 'very enormous' because it would mean 'very (very big)' and you can't gradate 'very big'."

    It's great, it's really great!

    So I am very tired, but not very exhausted*
    She is very pretty, but not very beautiful*
    They are very hungry, but not very starving*
    He's very angry, but not very furious*
    ---------
    So it depends, as I see, on one's semantics to be able to differentiate between those "base" gradable and "Strong" upgradable adjectives!

    Thanks again!

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    #8

    Re: Base / Strong adjectives

    /A learner/

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Shakespeare View Post

    She is very pretty, but not very beautiful*

    So it depends, as I see, on one's semantics to be able to differentiate between those "base" gradable and "Strong" upgradable adjectives!

    Thanks again!
    There is a solution for "very"

    She is so pretty.

    In addition

    The face in the picture called Monalisa is amazingly mysterious.
    The face in the picture called Monalisa is so mysterious.

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