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Common errors > delicious  adjective

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Incorrect or non-standard usage, overuse etc.

(1) The seafood was very delicious.
(2) We are going to have a delicious dinner to celebrate Tim's birthday.

The problem

(1) Delicious is a non-gradable adjective. i.e. it means very tasty.
(Other examples of non-gradable adjectives are, enormous - very big; tiny - very small; exhausted - very tired; fantastic - very good)

You cannot use 'very' with non-gradable adjectives as they already contain the idea of 'very'. However, you can use some other words such as 'absolutely'
(For more details, there is a good set of notes at - see below.)

(2) The word 'delicious' is often misused to describe an eating experience that is generally good - i.e. there were lots of dishes, the restaurant was a rather upmarket one etc. However, in English, the word delicious refers only to the taste of food.

Standard English

The seafood was absolutely delicious.
We're going somewhere nice for a meal to celebrate Tim's birthday.
We're going for a slap up meal. (Informal - spoken English - British)

Online resources

The following online resources may be useful:

quiz Gradable and absolute adjectives gap fill quiz Gap quiz using absolute adjectives in Reward Int Resource Pack, progress check 6 - 10 dominoes
matching Gradable and absolute adjectives matching Uses adjective examples found in Reward Int Resource Pack, 6 - 10 progress check: dominoes
includes tasks     student-specifc material
notes Gradable and Non-gradable Adjectives Clear and fairly comprehensive set of notes


Online dictionary links are available for the following words:

Head word Part of speech Mac Cam Dic
Wik Save
delicious adjective MacCantabDictWiktAdd
slap-up adjective MacCantabWiktAdd

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