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Modifiers, Intensifiers and Qualifiers - Part 2

Unlike modifiers, which modify words or phrases, an Intensifier is a term for a modifier that amplifies the meaning of the word it modifies. An intensifier is used exclusively to modify adverbs and adjectives and is placed before the word it is meant to modify. 

In simple terms, the intensifier emphasises adverbs and adjectives - it makes them more intense. The word is derived from Latin, meaning to “intend or stretch”.

In grammatical terms, the intensifier lends no weight to the meaning of a sentence other than to give it an additional emotional nuance to the word it is modifying, however, since they modify adverbs and adjectives, they should be treated in the same way adverbs adjectives – used little and sparingly wherever possible within your writing.

This is where learning to spot them will benefit your quality of writing. Intensifiers are attributive and serve only to fill space, so unless there is a valid reason to intensify the meaning and emotion of sentences, such as in a c…

Modifiers, Intensifiers and Qualifiers

Most people won’t have heard about modifiers, intensifiers or qualifiers, but each one has a distinct meaning within writing and the use of each one affects the quality of writing in different ways.

In Part 1 we’ll look at Modifiers; while in Part 2, we we’ll look at Intensifiers and in Part 3 we’ll look at Qualifiers.

A modifier is self-explanatory; it modifies words or phrases and makes the meaning more specific within a sentence. If used carefully, well-placed modifiers will allow a writer to be a little more descriptive. Badly constructed modifiers, however, will make sentences ambiguous and unintentionally amusing and will also weaken sentence structures.

There two types of modifiers that writers need to understand - adjectives and adverbs.  Adjectives modify (or describe) nouns or pronouns, and adverbs modify (or describe) verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.

When constructing sentences, the general principle is that you should place modifiers as close as possible to the word o…

How to Make Description Sparkle

Firstly, there’s description, then there’s description.

Description is one of those wonderful writing elements that you can bend and shape and mould and make it what you want it to be. It’s not fixed and it’s not governed by absolute rules. If a story were a canvas, the description is the colour; layers and layers of it to make the picture a whole.

So how do you go about transforming dull, boring description into something a little more lavish or evocative? It all comes down to that old adage: show, don’t tell. Show the reader, involve them, but don’t tell them.

The descriptive element of any narrative is there to assist the reader, who cannot see the world your characters live in unless you paint it for them. The reader, in effect, is without any sensory detail, unless you provide it. It allows the reader to see this descriptive world, not just read about it.

That descriptive detail is the difference between someone reading your work and enjoying it or not reading it at all.

Desc…