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Emphatic expression you really need to know! Posted by on Mar 21, 2013 in English Grammar

An emphatic expression is one that is said with emphasis and stress to indicate importance.  This type of expression is used to show you have strong feelings about what you are saying.  Often emphatic expressions that are written have an exclamation point (!) at the end of the sentence. While spoken emphatic phrases have stress on the word that is used to emphasize or intensify your feelings.

Creating an emphatic expression involves adding an adverb intensifier to your existing sentence or expression to make your feelings even stronger.  In an emphatic phrase the adverb intensifier is always added before the verb.  The most common emphatic intensifiers in English (in my opinion) are “really” and “very much.”  I am sure you have heard people use these words frequently, in fact I used one in the title of this post.

There are a number of useful emphatic intensifiers that would be good for you to know.  I have listed some of the most common of these below.  Following this list are a group of sentences with blanks where you can practice filling in different emphatic emphasizers to make your own emphatic phrases.  Any of the words from the list can be put into any of the blanks in the sentences below.  It is personal choice which emphasizers you use, which is why it might be fun to try out using these different intensifiers in the different sentences below and see which ones you like best.  Also, listen for how others, particularly native English speakers, use these words to help emphasize their point.  This may help you decide which intensifying adverbs you like the best.

List:

deeply – strongly, with much feeling

fully – completely, without any doubt

positively – without any doubt

really – strongly

sincerely – with my best wishes in mind

strongly – with conviction

totally – without any doubt

utterly – without any doubt

very much* – strongly

*Directly emphasizing a verb with the adverb ‘very’ requires also using the word ‘much’ not just the word ‘very’ by itself. The word ‘very’ by itself is used to emphasize other adverbs or adjectives. For example: I very much doubt he ate the pizza. vs. He ate a very big pizza.

Practice sentences:

We _______ deny any wrongdoing.

I _______ regret my decision now.

We _______ appreciate all of your help.

He ________believes he is right regardless of what evidence we provide him with to the contrary.

We’d like to _______ encourage you to apply for the job.

My company _______ supports working from home.

They _______ reject any compromise in the negotiations.

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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.


Comments:

  1. Antonio:

    Hi, Gabriele. This is Antonio from Brazil.I really think you are a great English teacher. I have watched your videos on youtube.com. They are nice. As a student of the English language
    I have realized that what we need most is colloquial English.So I think that you shloud make some lessons about all of these:

    -collocations
    – idioms
    – slang
    – The most used sentenses in everyday speech
    – phrasal verbs

    All of these must be contextualized in short stories and must be in audio too.
    Please, don’t take this the wrong way. I’m saying this as a student of the English language. Here in Brazil there are millions of people studing English. And some Americans are here making a lot of money with esl. I thinhk that for us Brazilians it will be more effective if you create short stories in wich you use the emphatic expressions to make them more memorable.

    Please feel free to e-mail me.

    Thanks.

    Tony

    • gabriele:

      @Antonio Tony,
      Thank you for your thoughts, ideas, and comments. I’ll try to get some more videos up soon as this is the only way for me to include audio on this blog.
      I’m glad you have enjoyed the blog so far.
      -Gabriele

  2. susana cabal:

    Hi gabrielle, this is susana cabal from the philippines..
    please blog also about the coherent sentence
    thank u

    GOD BLESS 🙂

    • gabriele:

      @susana cabal Susana,
      Tell me more about what you mean by “the coherent sentence” and I’ll see what I can do about writing a post on it :).

  3. albert:

    Thanks for the info here. The words just helped me a lot in understanding what “Emphatic Expression” is. Just keep it up for you help students like me who is being engrossed of school works but still had to go to pc to make some research about stuff like this.

  4. directioner:

    thank you. this blog helps me on my report 🙂

  5. ashley:

    Hi Gabrielle, I sincerely appreciate your help through this blog. Actually, I am having a research about emphatic expressions, pertaining to emphatizing to someone who’s either in a good or bad mood as opposed to emphasizing a sentence. I am not a native English speaker, and it’s hard for me to sound sincere when I tend to emphatize to someone in English. Probably a number of scenarios like apologising or obtaining a person’s trust especially acknowledging a person’s situation would be of great assistance. Also, please provide as many examples as possible, classifying each of the examples into one certain scenario. Thank you. :d

    • gabriele:

      @ashley Hi Ashley,
      I’m glad you are enjoying the blog and I hope this post was particularly helpful. In terms of other suggestions for emphasizing mood, such as an apology, much of the mood in a sentence is transmitted through inflection and tone. For example the same words could be used to express a sincere apology and a sarcastic one, but the tone of the person’s voice would be different. Here is an example using the word “so” to create an emphatic apology: “I am so sorry.” Depending on the tone this could sound either sincere or sarcastic. In my opinion the sincerity of your sentences will be transmitted more via tone than words. I hope that helps.
      -Gabriele

  6. Odundo:

    I am akenyan and I am so happy about this!

  7. Garba Ahmad:

    I am just searching ’emphatic stress’ in Google then I come across this piece. I found it informative, educative and helpful. Thanks.

  8. pasky:

    Gabriele, keep it up.

  9. Nelson oche solomon:

    i love your blogs

  10. anthony:

    Thanks for your answers am glad

  11. Wondy:

    Am so happy I came across this….
    God bless you gabriele

  12. Amankwah:

    I find this information useful as an English student. It gives more insight to what I was taught in class. Thanks

    • Gabriele:

      @Amankwah Amankwah,
      Wonderful! So happy to hear that.
      -Gabriele

  13. saddam:

    Hi gabriele, Im very thankful for your blog it because I have an idea now for my report. I’m an education student, here in ccspc philippines.

    • Gabriele:

      @saddam Wonderful, happy to help!
      -Gabriele

  14. saddam:

    h! Gabriele, im here again asking a question what is colloquial? Im stil searching for it. Until now i dont know what is colloquial.

  15. khizzy kharry:

    very good teacher

  16. Mashaan:

    Such informative!
    I also have research in Emphasis in English.
    #Ashley
    Thanks

  17. ahmad:

    Hello sir. This is a great help to English learner. Can you help me a little with the arrangement of a sentence which we can use to emphasize something . For example models are placed at the beginning in some sentences to convey this sense..anyway I am not sure whether I am right so please help me with this.
    Thanks

  18. Lila:

    This really helped me as I am preparing for an upcoming exam I will recommend this to my classmates.

  19. Ali:

    Hi All,
    I am writing my MA thesis about the realization of emphasis in English. I really got used of the lesson and I need more references concerning emphasis if you may guide me>>
    Regards

  20. Payal:

    Thanks for posting such a wonderful and detail description of the topic

  21. Otuechere Alexis Chukwudi:

    The word in capital letters in `Albert is MY brother’, has an emphatic stress. Tell me, which of these best fits the expression. A. Is Albert Daniel’s brother?. B. Is Albert your friend?. C. Is Albert your uncle?. D. Is Daniel Albert’s friend?.

  22. Maijidda Gambo:

    Hi Sir, am from Kano Nigeria. & am very happy with this emphatic stress, may God bless you & your family.

  23. bella park:

    Hi gab! I just want to ask if you could help me about emphatic expression used in arguments ? Do you have any idea about it ? Hope you read this … Thanks !

  24. Tien Nguyen:

    I have a question but i do not know how to answer. Could you please help me.

    Is there any case where the use of emphatic form is counter-productive?
    Help me please

  25. Muhammadu Nurudden Idi:

    I appreciated what you have been doing for the English language learners. I found your write up very interesting.

  26. Excel:

    people mocks me when i speak or write, they said that i don’t know how to use figures of speech rightly.because of this, i do not contribute in the class or express myself freely. plz can u teach me how to make correct statement and sentence.Tanx.

  27. Ubon Oscar:

    Hi Gabriele, you are really good in it