Emphatic Expressions - Strong Collocations

Strong Opinions
Strong Opinions. Rubberball / Getty Images

Adverb intensifiers can be used to emphasize verbs. These emphatic expressions are used in formal English in written documents and when speaking at formal occasions such as business meetings and giving presentations. Here is a list of some of the most common of these intensifiers.

Intensifiers

categorically - in every manner, without reserve
deeply - strongly, with much feeling
enthusiastically - with great joy
freely - without hesitation
fully - completely, without any doubt
honestly - truly believing
positively - without any doubt
readily - without hesitation
sincerely - with best wishes
strongly - with conviction
totally - without any doubt
utterly - without any doubt

Here are example sentences of each intensifier which can be noted in italics.

I categorically don't want to spend any time doing that homework.
She deeply feels the need to treat others with respect.
The children played soccer enthusiastically.
You can find local newspapers freely available all over town.
Alice does her work quickly and honestly.
You'll find that many people readily accept low pay due to current levels of unemployment. 
I can sincerely recommend John for the job. 
She strongly presents her point of view. 
He he's totally sure he's ready to take the test.
Drake thinks it's utterly useless to spend any more time on the project. 

Using Intensifiers 

Generally speaking, be very careful with your use of intensifiers. These are strong words, and they make a strong impression. When used carefully, these adverbs can really underline something you feel strongly about. However, if used too often, the intensifiers can begin to sound rather aggressive.

It's best to use these words with great care, and only when you really want to make a point. 

Words Used with Intensifiers

These are generally used with specific verbs to create emphatic expressions. These intensifier + verb combinations are strong collocations. Collocations are words that are always or often used together.

Here is a list of the intensifier + verb combinations which make up the emphatic expressions:

Intensifier + Verb Collocations = Emphatic Expression

categorically deny - In no way did I do something.
deeply regret - I am strongly sorry for my actions.
enthusiastically endorse - I happily, and with my whole heart believe in something.
freely appreciate - I certainly understand something.
fully recognize - I am aware of some situation.
honestly believe - I think something is true without any doubt.
positively encourage - I hope that you do something very strongly.
readily endorse - I believe in something someone else does without hesitation.
sincerely hope - I honestly want something for someone else.
strongly recommend - I really think you should do something.
totally reject - I refuse to believe or do in any case.
utterly refuse - I completely do not want to do or believe.

Here are example sentences for each of these emphatic expressions:

We categorically deny any involvement in the scandal.
I deeply regret the loss of your loved one.
I enthusiastically endorse the local cancer society.
We freely appreciate the current difficulties in this market.
I fully recognize your need to improve your career.
I honestly believe he is telling the truth.


We'd like to positively encourage you to buy this stock.
Our company readily endorses his run for office.
I sincerely hope you are able to find employment soon.
I'd like to strongly recommend you visit an employment specialist.
They totally reject any compromise in these negotiations.
I'm afraid I utterly refuse to believe anything he says.

Here's a short quiz. Choose the correct intensifier for each gap.

  1. He ______ appreciates your interest in the company.
  2. Jennifer _________ hopes you telephone her soon.
  3. The boss _________ rejects any changes to worker contracts.
  4. The thief _________ denied any wrongdoing in the crime.
  5. Many people __________ believe Ronald Reagan was a great president.
  6. Doug _____________ recommends having steak at that restaurant.
  7. Unfortunately, the CEO ____________ refused to make any compromises.
  1. Many young people ______________ endorse the new president.
  2. If you want to succeed, you'll have to ___________ recognize the need to study long hours.
  3. She ______________ regrets any problems she may have caused. 

Answers

  1. freely appreciates
  2. sincerely hopes
  3. totally rejects
  4. categorically denied
  5. honestly believe
  6. highly recommends
  7. utterly refused
  8. enthusiastically endorse 
  9. fully recognize
  10. deeply regrets