#187: Speak with Impact — 52 Collocations with Intensifying Adjectives

Sep 16, 2020 | Advanced Vocabulary, Collocations (Vocabulary)

In August, I received a question from Serj who said, “I am very curious about little words (adjectives) which are used in collocations for emphasizing emotions and narrative in general. Like sheer guts, utter crap, brand new, blatant stupidness.”

I loved the adjective Serj chose for the question: sheer, utter, blatant.

These words made me think of a similar adjective we use with nouns to form collocations in English: absolute.

Based on Serj’s request, I have multiple lessons planned on this topic to help you advance your English vocabulary and I’m starting here with a focus on using sheer, utter, blatant, and absolute with nouns.

Today we’re all about English collocations that will help you speak with impact.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I LOVE teaching collocations because they’re an absolutely brilliant way to learn vocabulary and sound more natural when you speak. 

If you’re not sure what collocations are, here’s a quick recap: they are words that English speakers often use together. The associate or go together like best friends.

If you want to get more, I have several lessons on this topic and I recommend starting with the first lesson on 15 Collocations about What You Think. In this lesson, provide a more detailed background of what collocations are and WHY they’re so important to learn.

And now let’s go ahead and dive in with 52 Collocations to Speak with Impact — Using Intensifying Adjectives.

52 Collocations with Intensifying Adjectives in English — Full List

With the collocations below, I’ve provided some example sentences so you can see how to use them correctly.

I have not provided examples with every collocation because I want you to have the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned and practice.

You can share your examples with me in the comments below.

Intensifying Adjective: Sheer

  1. Sheer joy/delight/happiness: In this picture, she has a look of sheer joy on her face.
  2. Sheer determination/persistence: She became the CEO of the company through her sheer determination.
  3. Sheer genius: That idea is sheer genius!
  4. Sheer perfection: The dinner my mom made last week was sheer perfection.
  5. Sheer desperation: She called her neighbor out of sheer desperation at 2:00 AM.
  6. Sheer enormity: They were overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of the problem.
  7. Sheer panic: I was in a sheer panic after the accident.
  8. Sheer frustration: He gave up in sheer frustration.
  9. Sheer number: We were shocked by the sheer number of people who came to the event.
  10. Sheer stupidity 
  11. Sheer accident
  12. Sheer beauty
  13. Sheer boredom
  14. Sheer greed

Intensifying Adjective: Blatant

  1. Blatant lie: Her excuse for why she didn’t come to work was a blatant lie.
  2. Blatant disregard: There’s no excuse for such a blatant disregard for the rules.
  3. Blatant discrimination: The company was accused of blatant discrimination.
  4. Blatant disrespect: I’ve never seen such blatant disrespect toward someone else.
  5. Blatant violation: His behavior was a blatant violation of company policy.
  6. Blatant racism/sexism

Intensifying Adjective: Utter

  1. Utter amazement: She started at the sunset in utter amazement.
  2. Utter stillness: When meditating, I try to sit in utter stillness.
  3. Utter disappointment: When he lost the job promotion, he felt utter disappointment.
  4. Utter nonsense: That sounds like utter nonsense!
  5. Utter waste
  6. Utter boredom
  7. Utter chaos/confusion
  8. Utter perfection
  9. Utter darkness
  10. Utter surprise
  11. Utter embarrassment
  12. Utter failure
  13.  Utter incompetence
  14.  Utter shock
  15.  Utter silence

Intensifying Adjective: Absolute

  1. Absolute agreement: We’re in absolute agreement on this issue!
  2. Absolute beginner: Sometimes I feel like an absolute beginner in my language learning.
  3. Absolute mastery: My goal is to gain absolute mastery (and confidence) in my language skills.
  4. Absolute highlight: Watching the sunrise from the mountain top was an absolute highlight from my vacation.
  5. Absolute solitude: I appreciate opportunities for absolute solitude when I’m on vacation.
  6. Absolute waste: Watching too much TV is an absolute waste of time.
  7. Absolute certainty
  8. Absolute authority
  9. Absolute devotion
  10. Absolute faith
  11. Absolute favorite
  12. Absolute nonsense
  13. Absolute disgrace
  14. Absolute mess
  15. Absolute idiot
  16. Absolute tragedy
  17.  Absolute wreck

As I mentioned above, I did not include example sentences for every collocation from today’s Confident English lesson because I want you to apply what you’ve learned and to try sharing your own examples.

In my lesson on how to best learn and remember vocabulary, I recommend that you begin with 2-3 collocations from this list. Select your favorites. Then try using them in your own example sentences. 

Share your examples with me in the comments below. And take time to review examples from other students in the Confident English Community. It’s a fantastic way to build on your know-how and advance your skills.




Get the Confidence to Say What You Want in English

Follow my 3-step solution to speak English with clarity, fluency, and freedom so you can say what you want with confidence.

You'll also get my Confident English lessons delivered by email every Wednesday and occasional information about available courses. You can unsubscribe any time.

More Like This

Better Ways to Say Yes, No, Maybe, and I Can’t in English

Better Ways to Say Yes, No, Maybe, and I Can’t in English

At its best, saying “maybe” to an invitation is awkward. It might sound like you don’t want to go. And at its worst, it can sound rude. Are there better ways to say yes, no, maybe, or I can’t in English? Absolutely. Here’s how to accept and decline invitations + requests in English.

5 Smart Questions to Ask in an English Job Interview

5 Smart Questions to Ask in an English Job Interview

It’s the last question in your job interview in English and you hear: Do you have any questions for me? What should you say? Is it okay to ask a question in a job interview? Find out exactly what you should do plus 5 smart questions to ask.

How to Disagree in English Politely

How to Disagree in English Politely

Want to say “I disagree” without creating tension in the conversation? Master the art of disagreement in this lesson on, “How to Disagree in English Politely.”

I'd love your thoughts and questions! Please share your comment.x

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This