AskDefine | Define intensifier

Dictionary Definition

intensifier n : a modifier that has little meaning except to intensify the meaning it modifies; "`up' in `finished up' is an intensifier"; "`honestly' in `I honestly don't know' is an intensifier" [syn: intensive]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A modifier such as terribly or damned that has little or no meaning of its own and serves to enhance and give additional emotional context to the word that it modifies.

Extensive Definition

An adverbial or adverbial phrase is a linguistic term for a single adverb or a group of more than one word operating adverbially, when viewed in terms of their syntactic function.
Compare the following sentences:
  • I'll go to bed soon.
  • I'll go to bed in an hour.
  • I'll go to bed when I've finished my book.
In the first, soon is an adverb (as distinct from a noun or verb), and it is an adverbial (as distinct from a subject or object). Clearly, in the second sentence, in an hour has the same syntactic function, but does not contain an adverb; so a preposition, an article and a noun can function together as an adverbial. This is an adverbial phrase. In the third sentence, we see a whole clause functioning as an adverbial. It could also be called an adverbial phrase, but is more likely to be described as an adverbial clause.
Adverbial phrases sometimes consist of a pair of adverbs. Extra adverbs are called intensifiers:
  • oddly enough
  • very nicely
An adverbial phrase can modify a verb phrase, an adjectival phrase or an entire clause.
intensifier in Breton: Rannfrazenn adverb
intensifier in Spanish: Sintagma adverbial
intensifier in Swedish: Adverbfras
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