Understanding Grammar: Intensifiers
In this week's Premier Skills English podcast, Rich and Jack are meeting to watch the match but Rich is really late. Jack gives Rich a half-time match report that he later discovers is not true. The language focus is on four different intensifiers that are used to make language stronger: so & such and enough & too. Your task is to tell us a short anecdote using the language you have learned in the podcast Don't forget to listen until the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Understanding Grammar: So/Such & Enough/Too
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: This week’s podcast focuses on grammar. We’re going to look at some grammar words that are called intensifiers.
Jack: Intensifiers are words, often adverbs, that make other words stronger, words like very, really, absolutely and extremely.
Rich: But we’re going to focus on four specific intensifiers. We’re going to look at the difference between so and such and also at the difference between enough and too.
Jack: Well, that’s the grammar we’re going to use in this week’s roleplay but what’s the topic?
Rich: We’re going to talk about football, Jack.
Jack: Football? That’s a surprise!
Rich: In this week’s roleplay, I’m meeting Jack to watch the match but I’m a bit late so he has to tell me what’s been happening.
Jack: Great, but before you hear the roleplay and we look at that grammar, we need to look at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Jack: If you didn’t hear it last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now. We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Rich: A big well done if you got it right last week - a few of you also wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website.
Jack: Yes, well done to Luibomyr from Ukraine, Lakerwang and Fred Zhong from China, Wsanta from Argentina, Milos from Serbia, Anicentus Namang from Indonesia and Elghoul from Algeria who all got the right answer.
Rich: And remember you can also write the answer on Apple Podcasts, too. Mario from Mexico got the right answer and Bassam Shakban from the USA was on the right lines but maybe you want to listen again!
Jack: Let’s hear it one more time. Do you know what the missing phrase is?
Rich: The phrase is * ******* ****. It’s a type of shot where the ball is at about waist height and the player jumps, kind of horizontally, with legs apart and shoots very powerfully. The player’s legs look a bit like what you cut paper with. This shot is not to be confused with a bicycle kick or an overhead kick.
Jack: We’ll give you the answer at the end of the show and we’ll have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Introduction to roleplay
Jack: As we said earlier, in this week’s roleplay, Rich is on his way to join me to watch the match but he’s running late.
Rich: While you are listening to the roleplay, we have a question for you to answer.
Jack: The question is: What’s the score at half-time?
Rich: Sorry, I'm so late, Jack.
Jack: Don't worry, you're here now. What took you so long?
Rich: I know, I thought I had enough time but it took such a long time getting out of work.
Jack: You work too hard, Rich.
Rich: It wasn’t really me. I had to speak to my manager and he talks so much.
Jack: Yeah, I've met him. He was talking about his beloved Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club. He spoke for so long that I grew a beard.
Rich: Yeah, I know. He goes on a bit about Brighton! And, then, there was such a lot of traffic. I thought I was going to miss the whole match.
Jack: Well, you've missed the first half.
Rich: Go on then what's happened. What's the score? Not too many goals I hope.
Jack: You've missed such a good game. It's three all. It’s been so good.
Rich: Really, I thought it’d be a goalless bore-fest.
Jack: You’re such a pessimist, Rich. No, not at all - it’s been end to end stuff. United started so well. They were two-nil up after 10 minutes.
Rich: Wow! That’s so United! We hardly score all season and then when I’m not watching it’s a goal-fest!
Jack: You’re right, they haven’t been scoring enough this season but they haven’t been conceding too many either - until half an hour ago!
Rich: Go on then. What happened? I thought two goals away from home would be enough.
Jack: Nowhere near enough. City scored three in nine minutes. A hat-trick for you know who. He’s just too good!
Rich: And our defence is just not good enough to deal with him.
Jack: Or City just have too much talent? No one can stop them.
Rich: But you said it was three-all.
Jack: Oh, yeah. United equalised right on the stroke of half-time. It was such a fantastic goal. In fact, it was so good I’d say it was the goal of the season, the goal of the decade!
Rich: Here come the teams. Can’t wait to see a replay of that one! What? Does it say nil-nil?
Jack: Yeah, you were right. Nothing’s happened, it’s been such a bore-fest!
Rich: Oh, you’re so not funny!
Language Focus: Such/So
Jack: Did you get the answer to the question we gave you? What was the score at half-time?
Rich: Well, the score was actually nil-nil. No goals. Jack told me that it had been the game of the century or something but it was his idea of a joke.
Jack: It was so funny.
Rich: It wasn’t such a great joke.
Jack: Ah, well. Let’s have a look at a bit of language - it was so funny, it wasn’t such a great joke. Let’s look at these two words - so and such.
Rich: Both these words can be used to mean ‘very’, or to a large degree. Jack could have said it was very funny instead of it was so funny and I could have said it wasn’t a very good joke instead of it was such a great joke.
Jack: We’ll look at a few ways of how we use so and such but let’s start with the most common way like in the examples we just gave you.
Rich: We use so before adjectives and adverbs. Let’s hear some examples with so from the roleplay.
Jack: Sorry I'm so late.
Jack: What took you so long?
Jack: The match has been so good.
Jack: United started so well.
Rich: In all of these examples, so is being used to make the adjective or adverb stronger - to make it more important. When using so as an intensifier it is before an adjective or an adverb.
Jack: We use such before nouns. Let’s hear some examples with such from the roleplay.
Rich: It took such a long time getting out of work.
Rich: There was such a lot of traffic.
Rich: You've missed such a good game.
Rich: You’re such a pessimist.
Jack: In all of these examples, such is being used to make the noun phrase stronger or to emphasise the noun in these cases the length of time or the amount of traffic for example.
Rich: As you can see in these examples, it’s very common to use an adjective between such and the noun - it was such a good game or it took such a long time.
Jack: But this is not always necessary. I said Rich was a pessimist. I said you’re such a pessimist to emphasise this.
Rich: And we don’t always use the indefinite article - a. Listen to these examples:
Jack: We’re having such good weather this summer.
Jack: Playing football is such fun.
Jack: The manager had never faced such criticism.
Rich: The nouns in these examples: weather, fun and criticism are all uncountable nouns. When the noun is uncountable we don’t use a, the indefinite article, after such.
Jack: So, to wrap up, we generally use so with adjectives and such with nouns or noun phrases.
Rich: But there was one example of so plus a noun in the roleplay. I said that’s so United!
Jack: Ah, yes. This is something new and it’s quite informal.
Rich: And some people think that this use of so is wrong, but native speakers do use it...
Jack: We use so plus a noun or verb to emphasise things. We might say things like I’m so going somewhere hot this summer or that’s so like your dad or they’re so going to score.
Language Focus: Enough/Too
Rich: There were also lots of examples of the words too and enough in the roleplay. These words are also intensifiers and are used to make other words stronger.
Jack: We can use enough with an adjective or adverb to say if we have the right quantity or amount of something. In the roleplay, Rich said our defence is not good enough and two goals are nowhere near enough.
Rich: Let’s hear a few easier examples:
Jack: It’s cold in here. Are you warm enough?
Jack: This football shirt isn’t big enough for me.
Jack: If he’s good enough to play he’s old enough to play.
Rich: Enough comes after the adjective or adverb. We can also use enough after a verb. Here’s another example from the roleplay:
Jack: You’re right, they haven’t been scoring enough this season. Here are a couple of easier examples:
Rich: I don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables.
Rich: That’s enough for me. Thanks.
Jack: And, we can also use enough with nouns. The most important thing to remember here is that the noun comes after enough. Here’s another example from the roleplay:
Rich: I thought I had enough time but I had to speak to my manager.
Jack: It’s enough time not time enough!
Rich: We often follow nouns and enough with to and a verb, for example, I don’t have enough time to see you tonight or I don’t have enough money to go out tonight.
Jack: I think enough is more common in the negative form or questions. What do you think?
Rich: Probably. Probably because not enough means less than is necessary or required and enough means we’re happy with the amount we have. You know, it’s very common to hear I don’t have enough time or I don’t have enough money.
Jack: You might be right and also, when we have more than what is necessary, we don’t usually use the word enough.
Rich: We can say things like I have more than enough, thanks.
Jack: Yes, that phrase is used to be polite but it’s much more common to use the word too and too is the final intensifier we’re going to look at today.
Rich: Let’s hear some examples from the roleplay:
Jack: You work too hard, Rich.
Jack: They haven’t been conceding too many goals.
Jack: City just have too much talent.
Rich: So, we can use too plus an adjective to say that something is more than necessary. I work too hard, I’m too busy to help at the moment, the tackle was too high - he deserved the red card.
Jack: We also use too with much or many to say that something is more than we want or need. We’re conceding too many goals, I have too much work to do or there’s too much pollution in my city.
Rich: We’ve got more examples and activities on the website so you can practise the language we’ve been looking at in this podcast.
Jack: Your task this week is to use so, such, enough and too.
Rich: We’re going to give you four different situations and we want you to choose one, or more than one, and tell us an experience you have had.
Jack: Situation one: Tell us about a time that you were really, really late.
Rich: Situation two: Tell us about a time you went to someone’s house for dinner but didn’t like the food.
Jack: Situation three: Tell us about a time you met someone for the first time.
Rich: Situation four: Tell us about a time you played sport and lost.
Jack: Write all your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website. You’ll find the page for this podcast on the homepage or under skills>listen>podcasts>understanding grammar: Intensifiers.
Jack: OK, it’s time for this week’s football phrase.
Rich: It’s your turn this week, Jack.
Jack: Yes, I know. We’ve done so many now that it’s getting difficult to think of one.
Rich: Come on! There are such a lot to choose from. What about he couldn’t hit a barndoor with a banjo!
Jack: That’s way too difficult and too weird. Alright, I’ve got one.
Rich: Let’s hear it then.
Jack: This week’s football phrase contains some very recent football news. We only found out a couple of hours ago.
Rich: Exciting stuff. Let’s hear the phrase then.
Jack: This week’s football phrase is *** *** ****. This phrase is used to describe a manager’s position at a club. The position is often not very comfortable especially when a team loses. Who would want to sit on a *** **** - you don’t want to burn your bum! The ex-Chelsea and Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, has been named as the new man in *** *** **** at Tottenham Hotspur this week.
Rich: Jose Mourinho back in the Premier League. That will be interesting.
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. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Rich: Before we forget, if you’re still thinking about last week’s football phrase - the answer was a scissor kick.
Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the roleplay, Jack was giving Rich a half-time match report. Do you know the words in bold?
Yeah, I know. He goes on a bit about Brighton!
Really? I thought it’d be a goalless bore-fest.
You’re such a pessimist, Rich. No, not at all - it’s been end to end stuff.
We hardly score all season and then when I’m not watching it’s a goal-fest!
United equalised right on the stroke of half-time.
Can’t wait to see a replay of that one!
There were a few more 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.
Such & So
In the podcast, Jack and Rich looked at some words that are called intensifiers. Intensifiers are words that are used to make other words and phrases stronger or to add emphasis to them. So and such are examples of intensifiers. Both these words are used to emphasise something, but they are used in different ways. So is followed by an adjective whereas such is followed by a noun.
Here are some examples from the podcast:
My joke was so funny.
It wasn't such a great joke.
It's very common to use an adjective between such and the noun as you can see in the example above. In this example, the noun (joke) is countable but we can also use such with uncountable nouns and without adjectives.
Here are some examples from the podcast:
Playing football is such fun.
The manager had never faced such criticism.
Enough means sufficient or as much as is necessary or as much as you want. Enough is much more common in negative sentences than positive sentences. You can use enough in different ways. Notice that enough goes after an adjective but before a noun.
Adjective/adverb + enough
That player isn't fit enough.
You didn't do the exam carefully enough.
Enough + noun
I don't have enough time.
I don't have enough money.
Too means more than is necessary or more of something than you want. You can use too in different ways:
Too + adjective/adverb
I'm too tired to do this now.
The match kicked off too late. I couldn't watch it.
Too much/Too many
A noun always follows too much or too many:
Rich watches too much football.
Rich eats too many sweets.
Too + adjective/adverb + infinitive with to
This is a common structure that includes too:
It's too cold to play football.
She's too young to get married.
Should I use so or too?
Learners sometimes make mistakes when using too and so. When we use too we are talking about things that are negative. Look at the sentences below. It would be strange to say that you are too happy! That would mean that you want to be less happy!
toohappy. I am so happy.
toomany friends. I have so many friends.
The word enough has a very complicated spelling. It ends in -ough. This is a very common cluster (a group of letters together) in English. Learners often have problems pronouncing this cluster because it can be pronounced in many different ways. In fact, there are eight different ways to pronounce
-OUGH. Enough is pronounced /ɪˈnʌf/. The -OUGH sounds like -uff like in the words stuff or muffin. Here are the other ways to pronounce -OUGH with some example words. Can you practise saying all of them?
|-OUGH||Sounds like ...||-OUGH||Sounds like ...|
Tell us about a time you ...
Your task this week is to tell us an anecdote (a short, interesting story that happened to you). We would like you to use so, such, enough and too in your anecdote.
Here are four different situations. We want you to choose one and tell us an experience you have had.
- Tell us about a time that you were really, really late.
- Tell us about a time you went to someone’s house for dinner but didn’t like the food.
- Tell us about a time you met someone for the first time.
- Tell us about a time you played sport and lost.
Write all your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!