Graded and ungraded adjectives
Part 5: Adjectives with both graded and ungraded sensesMany adjectives which have more than one sense are either graded or ungraded depending on which sense is chosen. In the following sets of examples, the ungraded sense is shown first, the graded sense second.With some adjectives, the graded and ungraded senses have very different meanings.
With most adjectives, however, the graded and the ungraded senses are similar. The graded sense of the adjective indicates a quality that someone or something has, while the ungraded sense indicates their type or the category that they belong to.
In the nineteenth century, the civil authorities often worked hand in glove with criminals.
Some of them are quite civil and talk to you. Others shout abuse.
Every building has ramps and special equipment for children who ride in wheelchairs or electric carts.
The horse tends to get tense if the atmosphere is too electric.
Unlike most pop music, folk music and song came from the sheer pleasure of music-making instead of money-making.
There are many walks, short and long, to be taken, some through forest, others along the sheerest of cliffs.
All adjectives of nationality, such as American, Italian, and Japanese, are sometimes graded, although they are usually ungraded. When the adjective is ungraded, it means simply 'belonging to that nation'. When it is graded, it means 'having the characteristics commonly associated with that nation or with people of that nationality'.
His argument rests on the view that existing democratic capitalism is good and must be preserved.
It's part of the President's plan, which he says will make the country more democratic.
She got a job in a record shop and underwent a rigorous musical education.
He was very musical; he played the violin and the guitar, and sometimes the trumpet too.
I've regained my confidence now that my private life is more settled following my divorce.
Paul is the most private person I know and the most complicated.
In 1990 the Nobel Prize for Literature was given to Octavio Paz, the Mexican poet.
The Carrera Panamericana, part carnival, part serious racing and very, very Mexican, is like no other motorsport event in the world.
Traditionally Japanese car manufacturers have looked to Japanese companies to supply the hundreds of parts that go into a finished car.
Yakitori at its simplest is a chicken shish kebab with a very Japanese flavor.
Here is a list of the most frequent adjectives which have both graded and ungraded senses.
academic active acute adult alive apparent average awful bad big blind busy certain cheap civil classic clean clear cold comfortable commercial common complex concrete conscious conservative constant contemporary correct creative critical dead decent deep democratic dependent different diplomatic direct dirty domestic dramatic dry economic educational effective electric emotional empty enormous equal ethnic exclusive extraordinary fair false fast federal flat foreign formal free fresh full fundamental gay general genuine global good grand great guilty hard heavy high holy hostile hot human ideal ill immediate impossible independent individual innocent intellectual intelligent late liberal light literary little long loose lucky mad major massive mental military minor mobile moral musical near necessary negative nervous new nice odd old open original outstanding particular perfect plain plastic political poor popular positive possible practical pregnant private professional proper proud public pure quiet rare raw ready real regular relative relevant responsible revolutionary romantic safe scientific senior serious sharp sheer short silent silly simple smart social soft solid sound special specific standard straight strange strict strong sure technical terrible thick true unhappy unique unknown Victorian wet wide wild wrong