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Last week, we looked at trappen van vergelijking (degrees of comparison). They allow you to show that a thing is nice, very nice or the nicest. But there is another way to differentiate between nice things and very nice things – with versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden (“strengthening adjectives”). They do not have degrees of comparison, and so they only exist in the stellende trap (positive).
There are many such words, also some that directly oppose each other: doodziek – kerngezond (deathly sick – “core healthy”); loodzwaar – vederlicht (heavy as lead – featherlight); springlevend – morsdood (“jumpingly alive” – “completely dead”). Mors in morsdood originates in old Nederduits (Low German), in which it means “completely, suddenly”. If you want to have a better overview and see more such words, there is a a little test – can you complete it? The website also has the answers to the test here. If you don’t want to do the test, but just have a better overview of the versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden that exist, you can go directly to the answers, of course.
Here are some with pictures!
Versterkende bijvoeglijke naamwoorden take a word and add it in front of the adjective to give it a stronger meaning. For example keileuk, which just means very fun. Kei- is a one such versterking (strengthening) of an adjective that is used not just for leuk, but also for goed (good), gaaf (cool) and many others. It is mostly just how people use it!
Another word used a lot as versterking is super: superleuk (super fun), superaardig (super nice), superveel (super much) superlief (super sweet), etcetera!
There are also some versterkingen that are used with one specific adjective. For example peperduur (as expensive as pepper, meaning very expensive). This one originates in the old days when pepper was still very expensive, and so if something was as expensive as pepper, it was very expensive.
Another one is poeslief, if somebody does something very lief (sweet) or just is very lief, that is poeslief!
Let me know whether and, if so, how you did in the test! I have a little challenge for you: If you could create a versterkend bijvoeglijk naamwoord, what would it be, and why? Let me know in the comments below!