article + adverb + adjective + noun

Although the English Grammar Profile offers good evidence of what structures students can do at each level, it should be remembered that the examples that the students provide are not good examples to teach with.  Indeed, they are sometimes very rare combinations.  We can see that when we look at the same grammar patterns in the iWeb corpus.  Compare for example “a very important meeting” which comes from a student and found only 149 times to “a very long time” which appears 45,254.

There is also a clash of levels between A1 and B1 when deciding on how to place “very” within this structure. The example for B1 could easily meet the criteria of A1.  In the English Grammar Profile, point 54 in the category of Adjectives, under modifying at B1 is ADJECTIVE PHRASE + NOUN attributively which means before a noun.

  • … my boss told me that at 10.15 am I have a very important meeting. (frequency in iWeb = 149)
  • … she’s also a really good friend. (756)

However, point 8 in Determiners in A1,  ‘a’ + ‘very’ + adjectives in basic noun phrases. ► adverbs ► noun phrases

  • He’s a very good man.  (frequency in iWeb 423 )
  • It is a very beautiful place. (255)
  • It’s a very nice town. (48)

A search in COCA for:

_a _rr _jj _n

1 A REALLY LONG TIME 540
2 A MUCH BETTER JOB 423
3 A REALLY GOOD JOB 422
4 A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE 334
5 A REALLY GOOD TIME 324
6 A RELATIVELY SMALL NUMBER 322
7 A REALLY HARD TIME 295
8 A LIGHTLY FLOURED SURFACE 258
9 A MUCH BETTER CHANCE 245 (B1 modifying a comparative adjective is listed under another point)

We‘d have much better chance of knowing if she stops taking her medication.

listen

10 A RELATIVELY SHORT PERIOD 239
11 A REALLY GOOD IDEA 214
12 A NATIONALLY REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE 185
13 A RELATIVELY SHORT TIME 180
14 A MUCH BETTER PLACE 177
15 A REALLY NICE GUY 177
16 A REALLY BIG DEAL 164
17 A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE 155
18 A REALLY GOOD THING 154
19 A MUCH HIGHER LEVEL 153
20 A REALLY GOOD POINT 149
21 A REALLY BAD IDEA 141
22 A MUCH HIGHER RATE 140
23 NO STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES 137
24 A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSON 136 (C1 grammar)

Give it a month and you‘ll feel like a completely different person.

listen

25 A REALLY GOOD QUESTION 136
26 A MUCH BETTER POSITION 133
27 A MUCH LARGER SCALE 130
28 A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT WAY 130
29 A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WAY 126
30 THE RELATIVELY SMALL NUMBER 124
31 A REALLY GOOD GUY 123
32 A MUCH SMALLER SCALE 122
33 A MUCH BETTER IDEA 120
34 AN AWFULLY LONG TIME 117
35 A MUCH BIGGER PROBLEM 114
36 A MUCH BETTER WAY 108
37 A REALLY GOOD FRIEND 102
38 NO STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE 102
39 A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY 101
40 A MUCH BETTER UNDERSTANDING 99
41 AN INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ROLE 99
42 A REALLY BAD DAY 97
43 A RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNT 97
44 AN ALMOST DAILY BASIS 97
45 A MUCH FASTER RATE 90
46 AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT MATTER 89
47 A MUCH EASIER TIME 87
48 A MUCH HIGHER PERCENTAGE 87
49 A MUCH HARDER TIME 86
50 A FAIRLY REGULAR BASIS 85
51 A REALLY GOOD WAY 84
52 A REALLY GREAT TIME 84
53 AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT STORY 82
54 AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WAY 82
55 A CLOSELY GUARDED SECRET 79
56 A MUCH LARGER NUMBER 79
57 A REALLY GOOD PLACE 78
58 A REALLY GREAT GUY 78
59 A MUCH GREATER DEGREE 77
60 A MUCH LONGER TIME 77
61 A TOTALLY DIFFERENT PERSON 77
62 A REALLY IMPORTANT POINT 76
63 A RELATIVELY NEW PHENOMENON 75
64 AN UNUSUALLY HIGH NUMBER 75
65 A MUCH WIDER RANGE 74
66 A REALLY GREAT JOB 73
67 A RELATIVELY SMALL GROUP 73
68 AN EVEN BIGGER PROBLEM 73
69 A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIP 72
70 A MUCH YOUNGER MAN 70
71 A REALLY GOOD REASON 70
72 A RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD 69
73 A REALLY GOOD CHANCE 69

You‘ve got a really good chance.

listen

74 A REALLY NICE TIME 69
75 A REALLY TOUGH TIME 69
76 A RELATIVELY SMALL PERCENTAGE 69
77 AN ENTIRELY NEW WAY 69
78 A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SET 68
79 A REALLY GOOD TEAM 68
80 A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT WORLD 66
81 A MUCH GREATER EXTENT 66
82 A MUCH HIGHER PRICE 66
83 A REALLY BAD TIME 64
84 A HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE 63
85 A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT APPROACH 63
86 A MUCH LOWER COST 62
87 A MUCH SHORTER TIME 61
88 A REALLY GOOD FEELING 61
89 A RELATIVELY LARGE NUMBER 61
90 AN EVEN HIGHER LEVEL 61
91 AN UNUSUALLY LARGE NUMBER 61
92 A REALLY GOOD DEAL 60
93 YOUR LAWFULLY WEDDED WIFE 60
94 A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DIRECTION 59
95 A MUCH BIGGER ISSUE 59
96 A MUCH LARGER GROUP 59
97 A MUCH LONGER PERIOD 59
98 A MUCH OLDER MAN 58
99 A RELATIVELY RECENT PHENOMENON 58
100 A MUCH BIGGER DEAL 57


B1 vocabulary:

amount, approach, chance, completely, direction, disease, fairly, issue, lightly, period, position, range, recent, regular, relationship, role , secret, totally

 


A search for _a _r _jj _n in the iWeb corpus:

Superlatives are to the right

1 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) THING (NN1) 69789

2 A VERY LONG TIME  45254

3 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) PART (NN1) 22968
4 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) THINGS (NN2) 20263
5 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) EFFECTIVE (JJ) WAY (NN1) 16378
6 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) TYPE (NN1) 13960
7 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) CAUSE (NN1) 13079
8 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) FACTOR (NN1) 10862

 


9 A (AT1) VERY (RG) YOUNG (JJ) AGE (NN1) 9693


10 A (AT1) VERY (RG) SHORT (JJ) TIME (NNT1) 9452

11 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) FORM (NN1) 9399

12 A (AT1) VERY (RG) GOOD (JJ) JOB (NN1) 9099

13 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) ASPECT (NN1) 8918
14 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) EFFICIENT (JJ) WAY (NN1) 8882

15 A (AT1) PRETTY (RG_JJ) GOOD (JJ) JOB (NN1) 8596

16 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) ASPECTS (NN2) 8305

17 A (AT1) VERY (RG) IMPORTANT (JJ) PART (NN1) 8189

18 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) EFFECTIVE (JJ) WAYS (NN2) 7705

19 A (AT1) VERY (RG) SMALL (JJ) AMOUNT (NN1) 7631


20 A (AT1) PRETTY (RG_JJ) GOOD (JJ) IDEA (NN1) 7444

21 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) CAUSES (NN2) 7391
22 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) TYPES (NN2) 6978
23 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) FACTORS (NN2) 6864

24 A (AT1) VERY (RG) GOOD (JJ) IDEA (NN1) 6519

25 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) WAY (NN1) 6310

26 A (AT1) REALLY (RR) LONG (JJ) TIME (NNT1) 6187


27 THE (AT) VERY (RG) NEAR (JJ@) FUTURE (NN1_JJ) 6182

28 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) QUESTIONS (NN2) 6145
29 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) RECENT (JJ) VERSION (NN1) 6117
30 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) REASON (NN1) 5953
31 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) PARTS (NN2) 5836
32 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) DIFFICULT (JJ) PART (NN1) 5822

33 A (AT1) VERY (RG) GOOD (JJ) CHANCE (NN1) 5547


34 A (AT1) REALLY (RR) GOOD (JJ) JOB (NN1) 5445

35 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) REASONS (NN2) 5340

 

36 YOUR (APPGE) PERSONALLY (RR) IDENTIFIABLE (JJ) INFORMATION (NN1) 5336


37 A (AT1) VERY (RG) SHORT (JJ) PERIOD (NN1) 5147

38 A (AT1) MUCH (RR) BETTER (JJR) JOB (NN1) 4871

39 A (AT1) VERY (RG) GOOD (JJ) THING (NN1) 4854
40 A (AT1) VERY (RG) GOOD (JJ) REASON (NN1) 4775
41 A (AT1) VERY (RG) SMALL (JJ) NUMBER (NN1) 4620

42 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) SYMPTOMS (NN2) 4458

43 A (AT1) VERY (RG) IMPORTANT (JJ) ROLE (NN1) 4390
44 A (AT1) VERY (RG) HIGH (JJ) STANDARD (NN1_JJ) 4376
45 A (AT1) VERY (RG) REASONABLE (JJ) PRICE (NN1) 4325
46 A (AT1) VERY (RG) DIFFICULT (JJ) TIME (NNT1) 4287
47 A (AT1) VERY (RG) LARGE (JJ) NUMBER (NN1) 4259

48 A (AT1) MUCH (RR) BETTER (JJR) CHANCE (NN1) 4113

49 A (AT1) VERY (RG) HARD (JJ) TIME (NNT1) 4078

50 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) STEP (NN1) 4022

51 A (AT1) REALLY (RR) HARD (JJ) TIME (NNT1) 3724

52 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) UP-TO-DATE (JJ) INFORMATION (NN1) 3654
53 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) ELEMENT (NN1) 3610

54 A (AT1) VERY (RG) EARLY (JJ) AGE (NN1) 3538
55 A (AT1) VERY (RG) LONG (JJ) WAY (NN1) 3514
56 A (AT1) REALLY (RR) GOOD (JJ) IDEA (NN1) 3500
57 A (AT1) RELATIVELY (RR) SHORT (JJ) PERIOD (NN1) 3491
58 A (AT1) VERY (RG) SMALL (JJ) PERCENTAGE (NN1) 3486
59 A (AT1) VERY (RG) HIGH (JJ) QUALITY (NN1) 3454

60 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) SIDE (NN1) 3417
61 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) ELEMENTS (NN2) 3368
62 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) PROBLEMS (NN2) 3336
63 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) QUESTION (NN1) 3299
64 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) METHOD (NN1) 3267

65 A (AT1) VERY (RG) WIDE (JJ) RANGE (NN1) 3266

66 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) INFORMATION (NN1) 3210
67 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) INTERESTING (JJ) THING (NN1) 3126
68 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) FEATURES (NN2) 3083
69 A (AT1) MORE (RGR) ACTIVE (JJ) ROLE (NN1) 3041

70 A (AT1) RELATIVELY (RR) SMALL (JJ) NUMBER (NN1) 3014

71 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) WAYS (NN2) 2984
72 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) PIECE (NN1) 2963
73 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) MISTAKES (NN2) 2962
74 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) INTERESTING (JJ) PART (NN1) 2923

75 A (AT1) VERY (RG) HIGH (JJ) LEVEL (NN1) 2916

76 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) BEAUTIFUL (JJ) PLACES (NN2) 2900
77 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) ONES (NN2) 2893

78 A (AT1) VERY (RG) USEFUL (JJ) TOOL (NN1) 2831

79 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) LIKELY (JJ) CAUSE (NN1) 2829
80 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) CURRENT (JJ) VERSION (NN1) 2820

81 A (AT1) RELATIVELY (RR) SHORT (JJ) TIME (NNT1) 2819
82 A (AT1) VERY (RG) GOOD (JJ) WAY (NN1) 2790

83 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) RECENT (JJ) DATA (NN) 2758
84 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) DIFFICULT (JJ) THING (NN1) 2729

85 A (AT1) VERY (RG) SPECIAL (JJ) PLACE (NN1) 2723

86 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) WONDERFUL (JJ) TIME (NNT1) 2704

87 A (AT1) PRETTY (RG_JJ) GOOD (JJ) DEAL (NN1) 2663

88 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) MEAL (NN1) 2638
89 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) USE (NN1) 2623

90 A (AT1) VERY (RG) EFFECTIVE (JJ) WAY (NN1) 2602

91 A (AT1) MORE (RGR) EFFICIENT (JJ) WAY (NN1) 2585
92 A (AT1) MUCH (RR) BETTER (JJR) IDEA (NN1) 2565

93 A (AT1) VERY (RG) GOOD (JJ) POINT (NN1) 2549

94 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) FEATURE (NN1) 2548
95 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) AMAZING (JJ) THING (NN1) 2545

96 A (AT1) VERY (RG) HIGH (JJ) LEVEL (NN1_JJ) 2539

97 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) POINT (NN1) 2536

98 A (AT1) PRETTY (RG_JJ) GOOD (JJ) CHANCE (NN1) 2518

99 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) COMMON (JJ) ONES (NN2) 2510
100 THE (AT) MOST (RGT) IMPORTANT (JJ) PERSON (NN1) 2505

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