General discussion[ edit ] Opposition is a semantic relation in which one word has a sense or meaning that negates or is, in the sense of scale , distant from a related word. Other words are capable of being opposed, but the language in question has an accidental gap in its lexicon. For example, the word devout lacks a lexical opposite, but it is fairly easy to conceptualize a parameter of devoutness where devout lies at the positive pole with a missing member at the negative pole. Opposites of such words can nevertheless sometimes be formed with the prefixes un- or non-, with varying degrees of naturalness. Opposites may be viewed as a special type of incompatibility. Some classes of opposites include: antipodals, pairs of words which describe opposite ends of some axis, either literal such as "left" and "right," "up" and "down," "east" and "west" or figurative or abstract such as "first" and "last," "beginning" and "end," "entry" and "exit" disjoint opposites or "incompatibles" , members of a set which are mutually exclusive but which leave a lexical gap unfilled, such as "red" and "blue," "one" and "ten," or "monday" and "friday.
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Adjectives describe a quality that something has. Other qualities cannot vary in intensity or grade. These adjectives show extreme, absolute or classifying quality. Gradable adjectives Some adjectives can be made stronger or weaker.
These photographs are very good. Shall I turn the fire on? That movie was really interesting. Mary is extremely tired. Non-gradable adjectives Some adjectives describe qualities that are completely present or completely absent. They are non-gradable adjectives.
The dinner was fantastic. The dog was dead. It was very fantastic. It was very freezing outside. Very cold. That film was terrifying. Very scary. This meal is delicious. Very tasty. Adjectives which identify something as belonging to a particular type, sometimes referred to as classifying adjectives, are also non-gradable: It was a military vehicle. They give even greater emphasis to what is said: — The movie was absolutely terrifying.
For example: She sounded slightly foreign. Some grading adverbs can also used with both gradable and non-gradable adjectives.