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Confusing message

Context: It is really bad

Message: Intensifier that does not intensify “really”. Use sparingly.

I believe the message was meant to have the adjective (in this case ‘bad’).

Fixed (

As a non-native speaker of English, I must admit that I wouldn’t understand the message “Intensifier that does not intensify” anyway.

I changed the message (

Haha! Like calculators that do not calculate?

Actually, its taken from the page referenced to:

Perhaps it’s better to be not so certain that it does not intensify. How about this?

Consider removing “\1” unless there is a valid reason to intensify the following word.

or something like

Avoid using “\1” when it does not really intensify.

Btw, here’s good info on whether using an intensifier is justified:

Something to consider:


The word really is a very useful word in informal English for two reasons:

  1. As you can use it with both gradable and non-gradable adjectives, you don’t have to worry about the grammar side of things.
  2. It has more emotional content than very. Look at these sentences:

Thanks for the party, I had a very good time.
Thanks for the party, I had a really good time.

The first is polite enough, but the second sounds as though you really mean it. As if it came from the heart.

In formal writing, however, it is best to try and find more specific intensifiers.