Home / English Lessons / GRAMMAR / ADJECTIVES / Very, pretty, so, really | Intensifiers in English

Very, pretty, so, really | Intensifiers in English


Listen to the audio:

…or watch the video!

Many native English speakers like to tell stories, share their feelings and, in general, talk!

So when we tell stories in everyday, casual speech, we like to express details, which the English language easily allows for with the words:

  • “pretty”
  • “so”
  • “really”; and
  • “very”

to describe the extent of something or the amount of something.


I could say:

  • “The glass is full.”

Or I could be much more specific and say:

  • “The glass is very full.”
  • “The glass is so full. (Why did you pour so much water?!)”
  • “The glass is really full. (Be careful carrying it.)”
  • “The glass is pretty full. (But there’s room for more.)”

Here are some examples of how we use these terms in everyday, casual English.

Listen and Repeat

for pronunciation practice.


Meaning: “pretty” ([PRI diy]) is also a term to say that someone or something is good-looking. However, here, we use it as a term to say “somewhat” or “so-so“.

  • “It’s pretty good chocolate, but I’ve tasted better.”
  • “He’s pretty smart. I think he’ll catch on fast.”
  • “I’m pretty sure I’m going to take the job, but I’ll make my final decision tomorrow.” (Notice how “going to” –> “gonna”)
  • “That’s pretty much the idea I was trying to get across.”


Meaning: the extent of something. “So” is similar to “very”, but a bit more casual.

Listen and Repeat

(Also check out the lesson on Using the Words “such” and “so” in English).

  • “I am so tired! I need to go to bed!” (Notice the stress and rhythm of my speech).
  • “She’s so excited! She can’t wait!”
  • “I’m so looking forward to finishing school. I’m exhausted from studying.”
  • “We’re so full. We can’t eat another bite!”


Meaning: truly. But it’s also used in a similar way as “very”, but more casual.

Listen and Repeat

  • “You really don’t know me well enough to say that.”
  • “You seem really tired. Are you ok?”
  • “I really, really love chocolate. I can’t go a day without it!” (Practice the difference between “can” vs. “can’t”)
  • “I had such a good time, and I am really going to miss you!”


Note: Unlike pretty, so and really, very is also commonly used in formal and academic English. It can sound a bit more serious and mature than pretty, so and really.

Listen and Repeat

  • “That’s a very nice coat you’re wearing. Where did you get it from?” (Notice in “did you” how [d]+[y]–>”dg”)
  • “I’m very proud of you, sweetie. You did a wonderful job.”
  • “I am very confused. Can you explain that again, Professor?”
  • “It’s very cold outside. Take your winter coat!”

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Elemental English podcast on iTunes.

And if this lesson was helpful to you, feel free to share it with friends and family on Facebook and Twitter

ElementalEnglish.com is your resource for free English language and pronunciation lessons, 無料オンライン英語教材, 免费在线英文课程, 免費在線英文課程, मुफ़्त ऑनलाइन अंग्रेज़ी, آنلائن مفت میں انگریزی سیکھئے, Kostenloser Englisch-Unterricht Online, Język angielski online, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles sa Internet, Libreng Pag-aaral ng Wikang Ingles Online, دروس في اللغة الانجليزية على الانترنت مجانا, Lecciones gratuitas de Ingles Americano, cursuri online gratis de limba engleza, เรียนภาษาอังกฤษออนไลน์ ฟรี, American English pronunciation, アメリカ英語の発音, 纯正美语发音, 純正美語發音, अमरीकी अंग्रेज़ी, امریکی انگریزی کا تلفّظ سیکھئے, Amerikanisches Englisch Aussprache, wymowa język angielski, Học tiếng anh miễn phí, Wastong Pagbigkas ng American English sa Internet, astong Pagbigkas ng, تعلم اللهجة الامريكية على الانترنت, American English Online, Pronunciacion de Ingles Americano en linea, pronuntie engleza americana online, บทเรียน การออกเสียงภาษาอังกฤษ สำหรับคนไทย


  1. It’s (pretty) nice lesson,
    It’s (so) helpful,
    You are (really) good teacher,
    I like your website (very) much. 

  2. What is the difference between a little, a bit , a little a bit, a bit of and just little a bit?

  3. Thank you so much

Leave a Reply

WordPress spam blocked by CleanTalk.