Adverbs of degree

Adverbs of degree tell us about the intensity of something. Adverbs of degree are usually placed before the adjective, adverb, or verb that they modify, although there are some exceptions. The words "too", "enough", "very", and "extremely" are examples of adverbs of degree.

Adverb of degree Modifying Example
extremely adjective The water was extremely cold.
quite adjective The movie is quite interesting.
just verb He was just leaving.
almost verb She has almost finished.
very adverb She is running very fast.
too adverb You are walking too slowly.
enough adverb You are running fast enough.

Usage of "enough"

Enough can be used as both an adverb and as a determiner.

Enough as an adverb

Enough as an adverb meaning 'to the necessary degree' goes after the adjective or adverb that it is modifying, and not before it as other adverbs do. It can be used both in positive and negative sentences.

  • Is your coffee hot enough?
  • This box isn't big enough.
  • He didn't work hard enough.
  • I got here early enough.

Enough is often followed by "to" + the infinitive.

  • He didn't work hard enough to pass the exam.
  • Is your coffee hot enough to drink?
  • She's not old enough to get married.
  • I got here early enough to sign up.

Enough can also be followed by "for someone" or "for something".

  • The dress was big enough for me.
  • She's not experienced enough for this job.
  • Is the coffee hot enough for you?
  • He didn't work hard enough for a promotion.
Enough as a determiner

Enough as a determiner meaning 'as much/many as necessary' goes before the noun it modifies. It is used with countable nouns in the plural and with uncountable nouns.

  • We have enough bread.
  • You have enough children.
  • They don't have enough food.
  • I don't have enough apples.

Usage of "too"

"Too" is always an adverb, but it has two distinct meanings, each with its own usage patterns.

Too meaning "also"

Too as an adverb meaning "also" goes at the end of the phrase it modifies.

  • I would like to go swimming too, if you will let me come.
  • Can I go to the zoo too?
  • Is this gift for me too?
  • I'm not going to clean your room too!
Too meaning "excessively"

Too as an adverb meaning "excessively" goes before the adjective or adverb it modifies. It can be used in both affirmative and negative sentences.

  • This coffee is too hot.
  • He works too hard.
  • Isn't she too young?
  • I am not too short!

Too is often followed by "to" + the infinitive.

  • The coffee was too hot to drink.
  • You're too young to have grandchildren!
  • I am not too tired to go out tonight.
  • Don't you work too hard to have any free time?

Too can also be followed by "for someone" or "for something".

  • The coffee was too hot for me.
  • The dress was too small for her.
  • He's not too old for this job.
  • Sally's not too slow for our team.

Usage of "very"

Very goes before an adverb or adjective to make it stronger.

  • The girl was very beautiful.
  • The house is very expensive.
  • He worked very quickly.
  • She runs very fast.

If we want to make a negative form of an adjective or adverb, we can add "not" to the verb, we can use an adjective or adverb of opposite meaning, or we can use "not very" with the original adjective or adverb. The meanings of the phrases are not identical. Usually the phrase using "not very" is less direct, and thus more polite, than the other phrases.

Original phrase Opposite meaning with "not" Opposite meaning with "not very" Opposite meaning with an opposite word
The girl was beautiful. The girl was not beautiful. The girl was not very beautiful. The girl was ugly.
He worked quickly. He did not work quickly. He did not work very quickly. He worked slowly.
Difference in meaning between "very" and "too"

There is a bi