Extreme adjectives


Most intermediate students and higher know the basic range of adjectives, but there are hundreds more which your students will enjoy using to describe books, films, holidays and interesting situations. Help your students to widen their vocabulary by teaching them some interesting adjectives below.

How to teach new adjectives

The teacher says the ‘normal’ adjective and asks the student what they think the extreme version is. If they don’t know, then teach them the new word from this list.

In some cases the adjective will be from Latin (think, ‘meticulous’ or ‘furious’), in which case your student will smile and go, ‘of course!’

In other cases the adjective will be from Anglo-Saxon and/or a compound adjective (think, ‘heartening’ or ‘mind-blowing’), in which case your student may look a little confused and you’ll have to go into more detail about what they mean.

Next the teacher should ask a student to make a sentence with the new adjective to check the student’s understanding and to help them memorise it.

There are too many words here to teach in one lesson but you could return to the subject every few months to help your student grow their vocabulary.

PDF download for your student

After studying the topic, here is a PDF to give to your students of the complete vocabulary set.

Emotions and states

Angry – furious

Excited – exhilarated, thrilled

Interested – fascinated

Happy – delighted

Hungry – famished, starving

Sad – miserable

Scared – terrified

Surprised – astonished

Tired – exhausted

Upset – devastated

Worried – freaked out

Descriptions of things, places or people

Bad quality – shoddy

Beautiful – stunning, gorgeous

Big – enormous, gigantic

Clean – spotless

Cold – freezing 

Dark – pitch-black

Dirty – filthy

Hot – boiling

Influential – game-changing

Light – dazzling, blinding  

Loud – deafening

Painful – excruciating

Small – tiny, minute /mine-you-t/, miniature

Tastes bad – disgusting, inedible

Tastes good – delicious, tasty, gorgeous

Unfair – outrageous

Descriptions of actions

Bad – terrible, horrific, awful

Boring – tedious, mind-numbing

Busy – hectic, frenetic

Encouraging – heartening, inspiring, promising

Funny – hilarious

Good – Incredible, amazing, wonderful, marvellous

Interesting – fascinating, mind-blowing

Moving – poignant

Careful – meticulous

Careless – reckless

Happy – joyful

Sad – heart-breaking

Scary – terrifying

What extreme adjectives have we missed? Put them in the comments below and we’ll add them to the list. Happy teaching!

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