I saw some questions just as this and would like to ask you whether this question is possible and grammatically correct in English?

I am extremely afraid of snakes.

How extremely are you afraid of snakes?

Edit: There is an adverb type called "ADVERBS OF DEGREE" and the adverb "extremely" is one of them.

We can't use these adverbs without any adjective or something that they can refer to.

"Extremely", "very", "quite", "almost" are some examples that can't function alone and need different things.

  • The first statement is the answer to Q A: "How afraid are you?" B: Very (much) = "extremely afraid". Let's try another example, Q A: How good are you at math? B: Very (good) = "extremely good". The question, therefore, cannot be "How extremely good are you at math?" unless it is said with sarcasm.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 12:45
  • The very formal Q A: "To what degree are you afraid of snakes?" might elicit a more precise response.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 12:50

3 Answers 3


how extremely does not really make sense. how + {modifier or attribute capable of degree} asks about the degree. extremely expresses the nth degree, so the extreme is not capable of degree, and for that reason cannot partner with how except jovially or ironically, or when extremely is used to mean merely very.

This is my only option.

--How only is your option? NO

That is a likely option.

--How likely is that option? YES

He is extremely patient.

--Oh yeah, how extremely patient is he? not idiomatic but it could come from the lips of a person trying to be a smart-aleck. The word "extremely" is being quoted back at the first speaker.


It is completely invisible.

--How completely invisible is it? NO

That question might be intended to call into doubt the truth of the first statement by snarkily repeating the adverb "completely" but it is not asking about the degree or extent of completely, which has no degree.

  • They are not the same thing, please.. That "only" is not an adverb, first of all. An adverb can not refer to a "noun". Your example is totally different from mine and wrong grammatically. According to you "how easily are you offended?" must be also wrong but I found many sentences like that on Google.
    – Jawel7
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 11:52
  • Your focusing on the part of speech is not really relevant to the point.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 11:53
  • Additionally, your last example is also not the same thing. The question of "That is a likely option" can't be "How likely is that option" but the question of "That option is likely" can be "How likely is that option." You are mixing them
    – Jawel7
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 11:53
  • You're wrong about that.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 11:54
  • 1
    How enough is your water? is not idiomatic for the reasons given in the answer. Something is either enough, or not enough.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 12:46

Both "extreme" and "extremely" can be used in an absolute or relative sense. In the absolute sense we are talking about something that possesses a particular property to the greatest degree possible.\, i.e. there is nothing else, that we know of, that possesses that particular quality to a greater extent. eg:

The Burj Khalifa is extremely tall.\, meaning that it is the tallest building in the world.

Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench is extremely deep, meaning that of all the oceans on Earth, Challenger Deep is the deepest point.

When used in a relative sense the words "extreme" or "extremely" really mean "to a great extent" but not "to the greatest extent possible". It many cases they can be replaced with "very". e.g.:

People stayed home because of the extreme cold.

This just means that people stayed home because it was very cold. It does not mean that people stayed home because the temperature was zero degrees Kelvin, which scientists regard as being the lowest temperature possible.

The Empire State Building is extremely high.

As mentioned above, the Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building. The ESB is currently rated as the 40th tallest, but it is still very high.

Using "extreme" and "extremely" in their relative sense is probably the most common way in which those words are used. As a consequence, when someone uses "extremely" (or even "extreme") in a sentence, it is not illogical for someone to wonder about the degree of extremity. e.g. if you say:

I am extremely afraid of snakes.

I might be curious regarding how extreme your reaction might be if you saw a snake. Would you:

  • Drop dead from heart failure. (yes, I am aware that if this was true, and you had previously seen a snake, you would not be able to talk about it.)
  • Become catatonic
  • Run away screaming
  • Experience an increased heart rate and heavier breathing
  • Back away quietly to avoid notice
  • etc

I could just throw a snake down in front of you, and watch what happens, but it would be more polite to simply ask you.

I could ask:

How extreme is your fear of snakes.

or, especially in conversation, I may just repeat the words that you had just used, e.g.:

How extremely are you afraid of snakes.

This sounds odd to a native speaker, so I would probably ask either:

How extremely afraid of snakes are you.


How afraid of snakes are you.

The words in italics are a direct quote from you and I would probably place an emphasis on these words to indicate this. Of these last two questions, the first is probably not grammatically correct, but I could easily imagine it being said by a native English speaker, especially in the middle of a conversation. The second is grammatically correct, but it may just illicit the answer, "Extremely', which would not progress the discussion in any way.

  • As a footnote, I believe Indiana Jones was extremely afraid of snakes.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 17:12

Although your initial sentence is fine, that question reads quite awkwardly with the adverb. I think this is how most natives would probably ask the question:

How afraid are you of snakes?

If you really wanted to emphasize the "extremely" part of your question, you could ask:

How extreme is your fear of snakes?

  • I see and know your suggestions are correct but I was curious about my usage. Because many examples on the Google. quora.com/… (how extremely are you disappointed) kowatronik.de/scripts/book/download-confessions.php (How extremely are you served encountering for?) lyly-kindermode.de/uploads/book/… (How extremely are you impressed hosting for?) so on
    – Jawel7
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 10:56
  • Your first source doesn't match your question – it's I don't know how extreme your pain is or how extremely are you disappointed (that's not a question, it's part of a declarative clause). The second quote is terrible English (i think auspicious to this, I placed upon this I account been It preferably public and it regards been me out people. I know to boost a document spam; make on-line aldehydes like its coupled me. Order, useful florida theme), as is the third (How extremely are you impressed hosting for? The subject sale of your hoe appears preceding, rephrase already the cell!)
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 11:42
  • 1
    Try searching on Google News for "how extremely is" – Google by itself can be very misleading because you'll get the good, the bad, and the extremely ugly. Try limiting your searches to News or Books for more reliable results.
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 11:45
  • I would not ask 'how extreme' anything was. You might as well ask how dead somebody is. Something is either extreme (at one end of a range). or it isn't. I might ask "how severe is your fear of snakes?". Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 12:12
  • @MichaelH - I would not take that extreme a stance. I don't reckon you'd see a question like this often, but doctors might ask, "How extreme is the pain?".
    – J.R.
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 17:01

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