I’ve often explained to students and in my materials that one of the differences between people who are good at speaking English and those who sound unnatural is the use of qualifiers. Qualifiers are words and phrases like a bit, a little, rather, quite, extremely, absolutely, almost always, usually, hardly ever, etc.
In the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner will often ask you to describe something, for example a person you know, your hometown, the weather, a special event, a book, a film, a TV show, etc.
If you want to get Band 7 or higher, it might not be enough to know lots of adjectives. You should be able to use the adjectives in a natural way, often with qualifiers. Qualifiers can also make common or simple adjectives sound a bit more interesting.
The table below shows some examples of using qualifiers in speaking:
|Not this …||But this …|
|My city is overcrowded.||My city is really overcrowded.|
|My sister is moody.||My sister can be a bit moody at times.|
|In winter, the weather in my country is cold.||In winter, the weather in my country is pretty cold.|
|The event was fantastic.||The event was absolutely fantastic.|
|The transport system in my hometown is efficient.||The transport system in my hometown is quite efficient.|
|I found the film entertaining.||I found the film rather entertaining on the whole .|
|My work is tedious sometimes.||My work can get a bit tedious sometimes.|
|She isn't boring.||She is hardly ever boring.|