And: Learning English from the Best Writers
In English people won’t often tell you something is good or bad. This can be annoying when you want to know someone’s honest opinion, as you might get an answer that is neither here nor there.
Is pretty good better than not bad?
I have no idea.
But I do know it’s less good than very good.
Is completely disastrous worse than really bad?
There are only two things you need to remember:
1 Adverbs such as totally, really and very, etc, don’t mean an awful lot.
2 They are often used for comical effect = to make something funny.
Now let’s see how they are used. If you read a bunch of examples, you will learn how to use these adverbs and be humourous yourself.
By the way, adverbs are words that say something about a verb or an adjective.
Let’s Learn English from the Best Writers!
I thought we might learn from a famous writer. I’d posted on our Facebook page that I was reading Bridget Jones’ new Diary (“Mad about The Boy”). Well, I finished it only two days later and it was great!
All throughout the novel it is clear that the writer of Bridget Jones, Helen Fielding, uses adverbs in a typical and masterful way that makes you smile almost every sentence.
In the examples, I’ve underlined all the adverbs.
Here we go:
Huge gaggles of posh mothers with prams have taken cafe over, talking really loudly about their husbands.
Got home to find terrifyingly pungent old-lady smell.
I’m non-violable, completely asexual and no one will ever fancy me again, ever, ever, ever, ever.
“Oh, darling, don’t be so bloody ridiculous,” said Talitha, summoning the waiter for another cocktail.
This really makes me very sad.
Talitha does have some authority to speak, having been married three times and, ever since I first met her, never without some completely besotted man in tow.
Am wearing, instead of usual pyjamas with dogs on, which match the children’s, the only vaguely sexual nightie I can still get into.
Is absolutely fine being in on own on Saturday nights.
It’s very hard when you have little ones.
He seemed to being hit on by an only slightly less large woman who was saying to him in a seductive voice, “Were you Childhood Obese?”
Realize, in the past, have seen fat as some totally unreasonable, random act of nature rather than a direct product of things-put-in-mouth.
“Name,” said the man on reception, who, worryingly, was very fat himself.
Once we got over the moment of awkwardness when they tried to put me down on the form as a “geriatric mother” it all went absolutely swimmingly.
She is wildly bohemian, with mane of black hair topped off with things what would be more at home in a garden centre or pet shop than on a head.
It feels a bit funny but actually seems to work.
It’s really terribly vulgar to display the green-eyed monster on Twitter.
His skin was peachy, his teeth white, his hair thick and shiny, slightly too long to be fashionable, brushing his collar.
He seemed completely overexcited by the food.
It was quite exciting, though, as Roxster took my arm and led me to Tottenham Court Road tube.
If you want more examples, read the book!
Now let’s do an exercise.
Use a suitable adverb (choose between the two between brackets):
1 I saw my friend in the metro which was just leaving from the platform, and I started running on my platform heels, but it was _______________ impossible to catch up. (quite/terribly)
2 Margaret has been going out with her toy boy for three months. When asked, she admits to being ________________ in love with him. (obviously, slightly)
3 Dieter has put himself on a hamburger diet, which he says helps him lose weight, but if you ask me he’s still _____________ obese. (grossly*, completely)
*gross means big and also disgusting
4 The deadline was approaching and Maureen finished writing the report ____________ quickly. (insanely, really)
5 The children are in bed, the TV is off and the neighbours aren’t shouting. It’s a ___________ quiet night. (funnily, very)
6 When you don’t count the times when she was late because of traffic jams or because the dog ate her coat, she’s ____________ rather punctual. (actually, totally)
7 My boyfriend told me he had ____________ forgotten my birthday, again. (really, completely)
8 Benny was sad when he wasn’t admitted to the choir but it’s true that he sings _______________ out of tune. (slightly, enormously)
9 No wonder that glass slipped out of your hands. You’re ______________ pissed!*(utterly and completely/a bit)
10 Elizabeth shows up for work at 8, ___________ shiny and fashionably dressed, smelling of shampoo and perfume. (very, all)