Ed Tyrrell

Big, Very Big, Very Very Big!

Part 1 – Synonyms for BIG – Level: Pre-Intermediate and above.





There are lots of words you can use instead of big: large, wide, huge and spacious are but a few. However, an important question is when can you use them?

I suppose you can think in terms of two-dimensional or three-dimensional, or 2D and 3D as they are more commonly referred to.

For 2D we can thing about ‘area‘ and for 3D we can think about ‘volume‘.

The next point to consider is how strong the words are. The picture below will give you an idea. Adjectives that are used with “very” are just normal strength. Adjectives that are used with “absolutely” are stronger!

2D 3D

So, if you want to talk about a road, you should probably choose ‘long, or wide’. If you want to talk about a park, you should probably choose ‘extensive or vast’. Walls are often described using ‘towering’.

Instead, talking about 3D thing, such as buildings and even people, you should choose ‘big, or large or sizeable’. And if you want to use a stronger word, you should choose ‘huge or enormous’.

To practice this, try the exercise below. You can do the version below or download it to do it later. There are also some suggested answers below.

Learning Material

Castle For Sale Blank Spaces

Castle For Sale Answers

Part 2 – Gradable, extreme, classifying and absolute adjectives – Level: Intermediate and above. (check back soon for more information and exercises…..)

In the exercise above, both gradable and extreme adjectives are used. Extreme adjectives, unlike gradable adjectives, cannot be ‘graded’. Absolute adjectives and classifying adjectives are similar to extreme adjectives in that they cannot be graded. However, there are adverbs that can be used with them.

Click the link below to find a sizeable list of synonyms for big which are separated into gradable and non-gradable adjectives. There is also a short table at the top of the page with some examples of the different types of adjectives and the adverbs that can be used to describe them.

Learning Material

Big Synonyms