Learning Vocabulary - Extreme adjectives
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack and Rich host their second World Cup podcast. They talk about the surprise result between Mexico and Germany and some of the goals that have been scored in Russia. The language focus is on vocabulary with a specific emphasis on gradable adjectives and non-gradable adjectives or extreme adjectives. Your task is to transform five boring or dull sentences into more exciting or dramatic sentences by adding extreme adjectives. As always, we also have a new football phrase for you to guess and news about our World Cup competition and World Cup programme. Enjoy!
Jack: Did you see that goal by Philippe Coutinho the other day for Brazil. It was absolutely brilliant.
Rich: Yeah, it was very good but I don’t think it’s been the best so far.
Jack: Really? Which goal has been the best so far then?
Rich: Ronaldo’s free-kick; it was absolutely sensational.
Jack: Yeah, it was really good, but I think it’s more difficult to score in open play. Ronaldo had time to think about his free-kick.
Rich: Yeah, and that was absolutely crucial - the time of the goal. It was the last minute and his team were losing. The pressure was absolutely immense but he still scored and that’s what makes it a great goal for me.
Jack: OK, you’ve got a point, but I still think Coutinho’s was a better goal.
Rich: I’m sure they’ll be loads more brilliant goals yet. It’s been great to watch so far.
Jack: Definitely. The stadiums have been completely packed for the big games and there has been a brilliant atmosphere in the stadiums.
Rich: Why don’t we do this every year?
Jack: Good idea. I’ll have a word with FIFA.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Jack: What’s happening this week, Rich?
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we have the second of four World Cup podcasts.
Jack: That’s right. During the World Cup in Russia, our podcasts are all connected to the World Cup in some way and are all part of our World Cup Community programme.
Rich: What’s our World Cup Community programme?
Jack: It’s a four-week programme of activities connected to the World Cup that will help you with your English. You can sign-up now for free on the Premier Skills English website. You need to click the tab on the homepage that says ‘live’ to join the programme.
Rich: It will be great to see you there and discuss the World Cup as well as practising English together.
Jack: In this, our second World Cup podcast, we are going to focus on adjectives - those words we use to describe things like brilliant - a brilliant match, great - great goals, professional - professional players, excited - excited fans, packed - packed stadiums.
Rich: And everything outside football too. We use adjectives to describe nouns.
Jack: That’s right. And in this podcast, we’re going to focus on gradable and ungradable or extreme adjectives.
Rich: Gradable adjectives are those adjectives that can have different levels or degrees of the quality that they are describing and extreme adjectives are adjectives that can’t be graded in that way.
Jack: But more about that in the next section. Don’t forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess - connected to the World Cup of course.
Jack: In this section, we’re going to focus on adjectives. Rich is going to tell you about a match that he has watched during the World Cup and when he uses an adjective, I’m going to stop him and ask him a question or two.
Rich: That sounds like it will be annoying.
Jack: How annoying will it be?
Rich: Very annoying, probably.
Jack: Let’s see. Which match are you going to speak about?
Rich: I’m going to speak about Germany against Mexico. It finished 1-0 to Mexico. A surprising result.
Jack: How surprising?
Rich: I’d say it was really surprising - Germany are the reigning World Champions. Not astounding though - Mexico are a pretty good team.
Jack: So, what happened in the match?
Rich: Well, I think Mexico shocked Germany by the way they played. They were really quick on the counter-attack, especially in the first-half.
Jack: Really quick?
Rich: Yes, very fast. Mexico could have been 2-0 up at half-time. Germany’s build-up play was a bit slow.
Jack: A bit Slow?
Rich: They took too long to attack. Passing the ball too much. It wasn’t very good.
Jack: Wasn’t that good?
Rich: Well, I wouldn’t say it was really bad. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t that good either.
Jack: And the second-half.
Rich: Germany played much better. They were quicker and they had lots of shots but Mexico hung on to their lead. The Mexican players looked really tired near the end.
Jack: Really tired?
Rich: To be honest they looked totally exhausted but their fans must have been really happy at the end of the match.
Jack: Really happy?
Rich: They must have been absolutely thrilled - delighted at the end. The German fans looked quite sad ... a little downhearted.
Jack: A little?
Rich: Yeah, that’s probably an understatement. I imagine they were absolutely gutted. A big win for Mexico though.
Rich: Alright. A huge win - an absolutely massive win for Mexico!
Jack: OK, I’ll stop now.
Jack: In the last section, Rich spoke about the Germany-Mexico match and he used lots of adjectives. Sometimes these adjectives were gradable adjectives and sometimes they were ungradable or extreme adjectives.
Rich: I said that Mexico - Germany was a surprising result and I also said that the Mexico fans must have been happy at the end of the match.
Jack: The adjectives that Rich used here were ‘surprising’ and ‘happy’. These types of adjectives are called gradable adjectives because we can change how strong they are. We can use ‘very’ to make them stronger or ‘a little’ to make them weaker.
Rich: That’s right. I could have said the Mexico fans were very happy or very, very, very happy.
Jack: Instead of saying ‘very, very, very happy’ it’s possible to use a non-gradable adjective. These adjectives are also sometimes called absolute or extreme adjectives.
Rich: So, in the last section, when Jack questioned me, I said the Mexico fans must have been absolutely thrilled or delighted.
Jack: These adjectives ‘thrilled’ and ‘delighted’ are extreme adjectives - they already have the word ‘very’ in their meaning. Thrilled is stronger than very, very, very happy.
Rich: It’s better to call these adjectives extreme or absolute adjectives because it is actually possible to grade them. You can make extreme adjectives even stronger with adverbs such as totally, completely and absolutely.
Jack: Rich said that the Mexico fans must have been absolutely thrilled.
Rich: Let’s look at a couple more gradable and extreme adjectives that we used in the last section. And the words we can use to modify them.
Jack: Rich said that Mexico are a pretty good team. Good is a gradable adjective and pretty is used to modify good. It’s an informal word and has a similar meaning to ‘quite’. Rich could have said that Mexico are quite a good team.
Rich: We can change or modify gradable adjectives with other words too. ‘Very’ is the most common word to modify a gradable adjective to make it stronger but we can also use ‘a little’ or ‘a bit’ to make them weaker. I said that the German fans looked a little downhearted after the match.
Jack: And then I asked Rich to change this, and he said they looked absolutely gutted. This is much stronger. He could have also said ‘totally gutted’ or ‘completely gutted’.
Rich: Finally, I like to use the adverb ‘really’ in front of an adjective to make it stronger. That’s because we can say ‘that’s really bad’ or ‘that’s really awful’; ‘they look really tired’ or ‘they look really exhausted’.
Jack: You can use ‘really’ with both gradable and extreme adjectives so it’s really, really useful.
Rich: Right, this week’s task is to make five situations more interesting by using adverbs and extreme adjectives to describe them.
Jack: Here are the sentences:
Number one: The number six passed to the number ten who scored a goal.
Number two: The goalkeeper made a save.
Number three: The fans celebrated the goal.
Number four: The captain lifted the trophy.
Number five: The reporter commented on the atmosphere in the stadium.
Jack: Write your answers in the comments section below and see who can write the most extreme sentences!
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was host country. This is the name we give to the nation that arranges and organises an event such as the World Cup or Olympic Games on their territory. Russia is the host country for the World Cup this year.
Rich: Well done to everyone who got it right. It was an easy one I think because loads of you got the right answer.
Jack: This week’s World Cup football phrase is ***. It’s an abbreviation that describes the system that is being used at the World Cup to allow a referee to look at a decision again on a TV screen. It’s going to *** is a phrase that I’ve heard a few times during the World Cup.
Rich: Fewer controversial decisions! That’s what we thought anyway.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below.
Rich: And hit the live tab on the homepage to join our World Cup Community programme and check out our predictions competition on the homepage.
Jack: If you have enjoyed this podcast or found it useful, leave us a rating or review and that will help other people find us.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
Germany are the reigning World Champions.
Mexico were really quick on the counter-attack.
Germany’s build-up play was a bit slow.
The German fans looked a little downhearted.
There were a few tricky words in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words.
In this week's podcast, Jack and Rich used lots of different adjectives. Some adjectives are called gradable adjectives. Look at these examples from the podcast. Look at the adjective and look at the words that are used before the adjective to modify the adjective. What do you think makes the adjective gradable?
Germany were a bit slow. They weren't very good really.
The Mexican players looked really tired near the end of the match.
The German fans looked quite sad ... a little downhearted though.
You can change how strong a gradable adjective is by using words such as 'very', 'really', 'quite' or 'a bit'.
Extreme adjectives are adjectives that are not gradable. These adjectives already mean extremely + adjective so they can't be graded with words such as 'quite' or 'very'. For example, 'exhausted' means extremely tired so you can't say 'very exhausted'. The only adverbs you can use are ones like: 'totally', 'completely' and 'absolutely'. Here are some examples from the podcast:
It was a huge win for Mexico - an absolutely massive win!
The Mexican players looked absolutely exhausted at the end.
The stadium was completely packed.
If you would like to learn more about gradable and extreme adjectives, try the exercise below, or take a look on our Learn English website.
Change the sentences:
Football commentators make the game sound very exciting and dramatic. They often do this by using the type of language that Jack and Rich introduced in this podcast. Your task is to look at the five sentences below and make them more dramatic, in the style of a TV commentator or newspaper reporter. Try to use extreme adjectives and absolute adverbs in your answers. Write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Here are your sentences:
- The number six passed to the number ten who scored a goal.
- The goalkeeper made a save.
- The fans celebrated the goal.
- The captain lifted the trophy.
- The atmosphere in the stadium was very good.
What do you think?
In this World Cup podcast, Rich and Jack spoke about a shock result. What do you think has been the biggest surprise at Russia 2018?
What's been the best match so far? What has been the best goal? Use some extreme adjectives to describe these moments.
Which team are you supporting in Russia?
Remember to write your guess at this week's football phrase, too!