Learn English Grammar

Learn English






Edulyte 24x7 English Class

Learn English anytime, anywhere

Find Classes

From Good to Great: Mastering Gradable Words in English

Comprehensive Definition, Description, Examples & Rules 

Edulyte 24x7 English Class

Learn English anytime, anywhere

Find Classes
What will you learn


Gradable words are essential for conveying different levels or degrees of attributes in English. Communication abilities may be significantly improved by comprehending and employing gradable words correctly. This article will thoroughly review gradable terms, itemising their traits, usage, and effects on language.

Definition of Gradable Words:

Adjectives or adverbs communicating traits or attributes that may be gauged or contrasted in degrees are known as gradable terms. They allow multiple degrees or intensities of a certain quality to be expressed. To describe varying degrees of warmth, we may use words like “very hot” or “extremely hot” in place of the word “hot,” for instance.

Characteristics of Gradable Words:

Modifiability: Gradable Words can be changed by adding intensifiers like “very,” “extremely,” “quite,” “rather,” and “fairly.” These modifiers enhance or intensify the degree of the characteristic being described. For example, “very cold” emphasises a greater degree of coolness than “cold.”

Comparative Structures: Gradable words can also be used in relative structures to convey the degree of comparison. Adjectives and adverbs can be used to compare characteristics between two or more items by inserting suffixes like “-er” or “more” before them. For instance, the comparison terms “taller” or “more beautiful” show different levels of height or beauty, respectively.

The Gradability Spectrum

Visual Infographics: Make a spectrum that shows the range of gradability, from absolute to extreme, for your visual infographic. Set up samples of words along the scale to illustrate the range of their gradability. For illustration:

Absolute Gradability  |—————–|—————–| Extreme Gradability

                  Cold                          Chilly                  Freezing

Gradable Adjectives

Adjectives that may be stated in various degrees are called gradable adjectives. Ones that come to mind include “hot,” “tall,” “beautiful,” “expensive,” and “interesting.” These adjectives can be adjusted using intensifiers and comparison structures to indicate varied degrees of the associated attributes.

Example: The coffee is very hot. (Intensifier)

Example: This book is more interesting than the previous one. (Comparative structure)

Degree Adverbs

Degree adverbs change words that may be graded by describing the strength or range of a property. Several degree adverbs are often used, including “very,” “extremely,” “quite,” “rather,” and “fairly.” They do not alter the gradable word’s character but deepen its meaning.

Example: He ran extremely fast.

Example: She is pretty intelligent.

Comparative and Superlative Forms

Degrees of gradability are expressed in similar ways using comparative and superlative terms. Superlative forms emphasise the most significant degree among entities, whereas close forms compare two entities.

Example (Comparative): This car is faster than that one.

Example (Superlative): She is the tallest person in her family.

Non-gradable Words

Some terms are innately absolute and do not convey a range of values. These non-gradable words consist of adjectives like “perfect,” “unique,” “dead,” and “pregnant.” They speak about attributes that are seen as being unchangeable and unassailable.

Gradability in Language Use:

The idea of gradability influences language usage in daily life. Speakers can express exact meanings and subtleties by using the correct gradable phrases. Effective use of gradable words facilitates the more accurate expression of thoughts, comparisons, and preferences and more transparent communication.

Common Mistakes and Challenges:

a) Excessive Intensifier Use

Using intensifiers too frequently might lessen their effectiveness. To prevent weakening the desired meaning, intensifiers must be carefully chosen.

b) Inconsistent Comparative Forms

When misusing comparative forms, such as irregular comparatives or using the word “more” incorrectly with some adjectives, confusion might result. To prevent such mistakes, it is essential to understand the guidelines for creating comparatives and superlatives.

c) Non-gradable Words Misuse

Confusion may result when attempting to change non-gradable terms using intensifiers or comparison structures. To prevent use problems, it’s crucial to understand the terms’ intrinsic absoluteness.

Tips and strategies for overcoming these challenges:

  • To retain intensifiers’ impact, use them sparingly.
  • Get to know the superlative and comparative forms of popular adjectives.
  • Before attempting to change a term, consider whether it is gradable.
  • Use gradable words more often to increase your accuracy and fluency.


The ability to master gradable words is crucial for English communication success. People may correctly convey various degrees or levels of attributes by understanding the definition, traits, and usage of gradable terms. One may improve their language abilities and communicate their ideas more clearly using proper comparison structures and modifiers.

list of adverbs for kids

Transform Your English Skills

Free sign-up for a personalised dashboard, learning tools, and unlimited possibilities!

Sign up Now Learn English Grammar Online

PTE Tutorials: Fast-Track to Your Top Score!

Master PTE: Dive in for success!

Sign up Now Learn English

Key Takeaways

  1. Adjectives and adverbs that may be graded are crucial for conveying various levels or degrees of qualities in English.

  2. Gradable words can be altered to indicate changing degrees of a characteristic using intensifiers like “very,” “extremely,” and “quite,” or comparison structures like “-er” or “more.”

  3. Words that cannot be graded, like “perfect,” “unique,” “dead,” and “pregnant,” are absolutes that do not denote degrees or levels.


Check your score in the end


Check your score in the end
Question of

Question comes here

Frequently Asked Questions

Can all adjectives be classified as gradable?

Not all adjectives fall within the gradable category. Certain adjectives are used to describe attributes that are regarded as absolutes and do not have different amounts or degrees. The term “non-gradable adjectives” refers to these. For instance, adjectives like “perfect,” “unique,” “dead,” and “pregnant” are not gradable.

What are some examples of intensifiers used with gradable words?

Terms called intensifiers are added to gradable terms to denote a higher standard or level of expressed quality. Examples of intensifiers that are used with gradable words are “very,” “extremely,” “quite,” “rather,” and “fairly.” For illustration:

  • “It’s very hot outside.”
  • She is pretty clever.
  • “He’s quite tall.”
How do comparative and superlative forms relate to gradability?

Degrees of gradability are expressed using comparative and superlative terms. Comparative forms contrast two things to show if one thing is better or worse than the other. The most significant or lowest degree of quality among a group of entities is highlighted by superlative terms. Gradable adjectives can indicate various degrees or intensities by utilising comparative and superlative forms. For instance:

Comparative: “This car is faster than that one.”

Superlative: “She is the tallest person in her family.”

What are some non-gradable words in English?

Some non-gradable words in English are –

  • “Perfect” (e.g., “a perfect circle”)
  • “Unique” (e.g., “a unique opportunity”)
  • “Dead” (e.g., “a dead end”)
  • “Pregnant” (e.g., “She is pregnant.”)
Are there rules or patterns for forming comparative and superlative forms of gradable adjectives?

The construction of comparative and superlative forms of gradable adjectives does follow certain principles and patterns:

  • Add “-er” for the comparative case and “-est” for the superlative to one-syllable adjectives. As in “tall,” “taller,” and “tallest.”
  • When using “more” or “most” before lengthier adjectives, indicate whether they are superlative or comparative. An illustration might be “beautiful,” “more beautiful,” or “most beautiful.”
  • Adjectives with atypical forms include “good,” “better,” “best,” “bad,” “worse,” or “worst.” Each of them has to be memorised separately.
How do gradable words contribute to precise and nuanced communication?

Gradable words make communicating attributes in various intensities or levels possible, facilitating more accurate and nuanced communication. People can express their ideas, views, and preferences with more detail by employing intensifiers, comparison constructions, and degree adverbs. Gradable terms make it easier to convey in greater detail how strong or extensive a trait is being addressed.

Are there any common mistakes to avoid when using gradable words?

When employing gradable words, it’s essential to avoid making the following mistakes: 

– Overusing intensifiers, which can lessen its power and make the language appear overdone.

– Misusing irregular forms when generating comparative and superlative forms or adding “more” to adjectives with a comparative format.

– Misusing comparative or intensifier structures to attempt to change non-gradable terms. It’s critical to understand that non-gradable terms are, by definition, absolute.

Share it with your friends

Learn English


Sign up for Learner Newsletter

Subscribe now for discounts, learning resources, blogs and guides. We do not spam.

We won’t pass your details on to anyone else. By clicking the subscribe button you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.


Sign up for Tutor Newsletter

Subscribe now for discounts, learning resources, blogs and guides. We do not spam.

We won’t pass your details on to anyone else. By clicking the subscribe button you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

PTE Tutorials: Customised Packages for Every Learner


$75 AUD

One time



$275 AUD

One time


$575 AUD

One time