7. Words instead of 'very'

7. Words instead of 'very'

Katie's disastrous holiday job.

Main practice:   words to use instead of 'very'
Revision:              to get on with  -  to get over  -  on top of that  -  to point out something

* There is no set of clear rules about which words these adverbs can collocate with. It's a good idea to make a note when you hear or read of them and build up a collection to practice from.

absolutely  -  an absolute or unconditional manner; strenthens strong adjectives, (i.e. cold, a base adjective, freezing, a strong adjective) can also mean a strong 'yes', i.e.
  • The movie was absolutely brilliant
  • Her party was absolutely terrible.

- Do you agree with my opinion?
- Absolutely

bliss /  blissfully  -  extremely happy, i.e.
  • Our holiday was so relaxing, such bliss.
  • She is blissfully happy in her new job.

completely  -  wholly; entirely; in every way possible, used to emphasize the
                             following word, i.e.
  • The way you spoke to Robert was completely wrong. Very rude. You must apologise.
  • The town is completely different now.

extremely -  to high degree or strength, i.e.
  • He is extremely anxious about the exam.
  • I'm extremely pleased to be able to offer you the job.
increasingly  -  more and more, i.e.
  • They are increasingly bored living there and want to move to another town.
  • I'm increasingly worried about his health: he's working too hard and not relaxing at all.

totally  -  entirely; completely, i.e.
  • I'm totally confused by these instructions.
  • Your son's behaviour in our school is totally unacceptable.

utterly  -  as an adverb it is used the same as absolutely, (often with negative 
                    adjectives) but cannot be used as a strong 'yes', i.e.
  • His argument was utterly ridiculous.
  • Her essay was utterly brilliant.

always intensifies a negative meaning, i.e.
  • She was bitterly upset not to get the job.
  • I'm bitterly disappointed that our team lost after all their practice and hard work.

apprarently  -  something seems to be true but may not be so
Apparently, he's going to take the job in Sweden.

-  repellent; sickening or disgraceful, i.e.
  • His table manners are disgusting.
  • The way she spoke to her mother was disgusting.

(to) get on with -  (Phrasal Verb)
                                     1) to continue with a task
                                     2) to have a good relationship with someone, i.e.
1)  Let's get on with cleaning the kitchen.
1)  After break we got on with the lesson.

2)  She get's on very well with her brother. 
2)  He doesn't get on with his new boss at all.

(to) get over  -  (Phrasal verb)  to recover from illness or trauma of some kind, i.e.
  • She's got over the flu now and will be back at work on Monday.
  • He's slowly getting over the divorce.
  • She's finding it hard to get over her mother's death.

nightmare  -   a bad dream; something goes badly wrong; a disaster, a terrible thing, i.e.
  • The holiday was a nightmare, everything went wrong.
  • I hated working in that city, terrible traffic, pollution, a high crime rate, filthy streets, an absolute nightmare

on top of that  - ( idiom) and another thing; usually used in negative sentences, i.e.
Well, firstly everyone came late so the dinner was over-cooked, then John broke two of our
best wine glasses, then on top of that Julia had this terible argument with David. The evening was a nightmare

(to) point out something - to indicate, to draw someone's awareness to something, i.e.
  • I must point out that you have been coming late for a few weeks now.
  • Let me point out that in actual fact the professor did deny ever saying that.

-  (Phrasal Verb) delapidated, in poor condition, (usually about areas of town;
                           buildings), i.e.
  • They lived in a very run-down area in the north of the town.
  • Well, the building is a bit run-down but it's still worth a lot of money.

Sam's daughter, Katie, took a job abroad teaching English. Unfortunately, it was not a good experience. Sam tells her friend, Liz, about it.

Complete the sentences.

Liz:    How did Katie get on with her summer teaching job?

Sam:  Well, she was very disappointed and I was about her.

Liz:     Oh no, why?

Sam:   The job was . The director expected her to work sixty 
             hours a week and was unsympathetic when Katie pointed out that her contract
             said she would work only forty hours a week.

Liz:     Oh, really?

Sam:   Yes, on top of the eight hours of teaching she had to mark homework and
              prepare lessons. Apparently, her colleagues were
              and the accommodation was , a dirty run-down hotel
              where she had a single room that was .

Liz:      It sounds a total nightmare.

Sam:    It was. Katie became depressed and after two months was .
              We told her to quit and in the end she did and came home. Thankfully, she
              got over the experience quickly and found a job at a local college where she's


Complete the sentences.

increasingly worried  -  absolutely tiny  -  utterly disgusting  -  totally exhausted  -  blissfully happy  -  extremely demanding  -  completely unfriendly

1.  They were married ten years ago and they're still together.

2.  His behaviour at the restaurant was : he shouted at waiters,
     threw food, and then got drunk and was sick outside.

3. Her job is , she has to travel a lot and work weekends.

4. No, he didn't enjoy it, the other people on the course were .

5.  I got back from the party at two this morning, was up and six, and have just worked
     ten hours. I'm .

6.  Well, the house is , only four rooms, but it's very pretty and the
     surrounding countryside is lovely. 

7.  I'm : the company has had a very bad year and they might
     make half the work-force *redundant.

    *To lose your job because you are no longer needed.