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Advanced Vocabulary: Learn 5 new POWERFUL adjectives in English

In this quick win lesson, you’ll learn 5 POWERFUL adjectives to boost your fluency when you speak in English.

LEVEL: Upper Intermediate and Advanced English Lesson

What is a powerful adjective?

A powerful adjective is an adjective that replaces ‘very + adjective’.  Clear?! Probably not! Let me give you an example:

  • Last weekend we went to Bologna. We had lunch at this very cool cafe in the main piazza. I had some very good tortellini and a very nice glass of wine…

Read those sentences again. Does it sound a bit repetitive and boring to you?

I’m using the word ‘very’ far too much. And it doesn’t sound great, does it?!

Let’s try again:

  • Last weekend we went to Bologna. We had lunch at this hip cafe in the main piazza. I had some tasty tortellini and an excellent glass of wine…

See? More interesting!

Example of powerful adjective in English
Instead of very use stronger adjectives

Why use powerful adjectives?

As you can see in the example above, when you use powerful and stronger adjectives, you can be more creative in English. You can express exactly what you want more easily, and your conversations are more interesting and fluent.

Below, you’ll learn 5 more powerful adjectives that will help you on your way to speaking in a more creative and confident way.

Can I use 'very' with powerful adjectives?

We do not normally use very with these kind of adjectives. We do not say something is ‘very enormous‘ or someone is ‘very brilliant‘.

With strong adjectives, we normally use intensifiers like:

  • absolutely
  • completely
  • extremely
  • exceptionally
  • particularly
  • really
  • quite
  • totally
  • utterly
The book was absolutely terrible.
It was an extremely powerful film.
He is an exceptionally brilliant child.
The kitchen smelled really disgusting.
Kerin English Teacher
Lesson by Kerin

1. Very busy - swamped

“I wish I could attend the talk tomorrow, but I’m absolutely swamped with this new project we’re working on.”

2. Very poor - destitute

“The fires have left thousands of people destitute.”

3. Very painful- excruciating

“I had an excruciating headache all weekend, so I just stayed home.”

4. Very noisy- deafening

“I like the atmosphere in that bar, but the music is deafening.”

5. Very damaging/upsetting = devastating

“The drought has had devastating consequences.”

“We are deeply saddened by the devastating tragedy yesterday in London.”

So that’s it! 5 quick win powerful adjectives to upgrade your English.  

Go deeper into this topic with this lesson: Make your English more powerful and interesting: avoid using VERY!


Now it’s over to you – Write a phrase or two of your own in the comments showing how you would use these powerful adjectives.

Kerin English Teacher

Check out this lesson >

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  1. Because of the lockdown I´m swamped with laundry to do!!
    The government should try to help destitude people who can´t make a living due to coronavirus.
    War has a devastating effect on any society.
    I love my dog, Emma, but sometimes her barking can be deafening.

    1. Excellent work @Carly
      ps. I’m swamped with laundry too… but why? We are not going out, so why are our clothes piling up?

  2. How can we help destitute people? I believe that the best way of helping is educating people. It will let them stand up strongly on their feet. Just giving them money creates a devastating structure of society where there is a lack of willingness to get up and work.

    In my last workplace, I was absolutely swamped, worked neverending hours without breaks. As a result of it I started to suffer from excruciating headaches more regularly.

  3. Nice post as always, Kerin. But while I was thinking at this powerful adjectives, repeating in my mind some sentences, I realized that you must be careful not abusing them unless you want to sound like Trump (ahaha!)

    1. Ahahaha! That made me laugh Fabrizio! We ABSOLUTELY DO NOT want to be sounding like him! That would be ‘devastating!’
      Thanks for leaving a comment

      1. I’m glad I’m still able to humour someone even in english – that’s no small feat… or maybe I should even say a “tremendous” one
        I’ve just discovered this new endeavour of yours thanks to a linkedin suggestion, and I’m going to read every available content as soon as I can. Other comments will likely follow, be warned!

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