Intensive word form

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In grammar, an intensive word form is one which denotes stronger, more forceful, or more concentrated action relative to the root on which the intensive is built. Intensives are usually lexical formations, but there may be a regular process for forming intensives from a root. Intensive formations, for example, existed in Proto-Indo-European, and in many of the Semitic languages.

Generally an Adverb[edit]

Intensives are generally used as adverbs. In general, they are placed before the verb that they modify, usually a form of the "be" verb. An example in common usage today is "the heck"; as in "What the heck is going on here?" "The heck" can be left out of the sentence without changing the meaning; however, the sentence is less intense without it. There are many varieties that are equivalent to "the heck" that are generally considered vulgar or otherwise inappropriate in polite conversation. In modern usage is also "the hell" or "the fuck". In the mid-19th century, "in tarnation" was in common usage. In Great Britain, "bloody well" is an intensive adverb in common usage. "I will bloody well do it."

In Classical Arabic, Form II (faʿʿal-a) can form intensives, in addition to causatives, while form IV (afʿal-a) forms only causatives. Hebrew has a similar distinction between the pi`el (intensive) and hiph`il (causative) binyans.

Latin had verbal prefixes e- and per- that could be more or less freely added onto any verb and variously added such meanings as to put a great deal of effort into doing something: ructa (burp), eructa (belch). When the same prefixes, especially per, were added to adjectives, the resulting meaning was very X or extremely X.