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Emphatic Expressions - Strong Collocations

Adverb intensifiers can be used to emphasize verbs. These emphatic expressions are used in formal English in written documents and when speaking at formal occasions such as business meetings and giving presentations. Here is a list of some of the most common of these intensifiers.


categorically - in every manner, without reserve
deeply - strongly, with much feeling
enthusiastically - with great joy
freely - without hesitation
fully - completely, without any doubt
honestly - truly believing
positively - without any doubt
readily - without hesitation
sincerely - with best wishes
strongly - with conviction
totally - without any doubt
utterly - without any doubt

These are generally used with specific verbs to create emphatic expressions. These intensifier + verb combinations are strong collocations. Collocations are words that are always or often used together. Here is a list of the intensifier + verb combinations which make up the emphatic expressions:

Intensifier + Verb Collocations = Emphatic Expression

categorically deny - In no way did I do something.
deeply regret - I am strongly sorry for my actions.
enthusiastically endorse - I happily, and with my whole heart believe in something.
freely appreciate - I certainly understand something.
fully recognize - I am aware of some situation.
honestly believe - I think something is true without any doubt.
positively encourage - I hope that you do something very strongly.
readily endorse - I believe in something someone else does without hesitation.
sincerely hope - I honestly want something for someone else.
strongly recommend - I really think you should do something.
totally reject - I refuse to believe or do in any case.
utterly refuse - I completely do not want to do or believe.

Here are example sentences for each of these emphatic expressions:

We categorically deny any involvement in the scandal.
I deeply regret the loss of your loved one.
I enthusiastically endorse the local cancer society.
We freely appreciate the current difficulties in this market.
I fully recognize your need to improve your career.
I honestly believe he is telling the truth.
We'd like to positively encourage you to buy this stock.
Our company readily endorses his run for office.
I sincerely hope you are able to find employment soon.
I'd like to strongly recommend you visit an employment specialist.
They totally reject any compromise in these negotiations.
I'm afraid I utterly refuse to believe anything he says.

Once you feel comfortable with these emphatic expressions, take the strong collocations quiz to test your understanding.

By Kenneth Beare, Guide