I have four terms, as follows:

Polite, Friendly, Serious, Praising

First question: By the method of adding prefixings, are the opposites of them:

Impolite, Unfriendly, Unserious, Unpraising

Secondly, if I want use two adverbals to define them by two levels, like "very" and "fairly" (I don't know whether they are idiomatic if put these two adverbals before them), should I say:

Very polite - fairly polite - fairly impolite - very impolite
Very friendly - fairly friendly - fairly unfriendly - very unfriendly
Very serious - fairly serious - fairly unserious - very unserious
Very praising - fairly praising - fairly unpraising - very unpraising

'Praising' just doesn't belong in this list. Some '-ing' adjectives can be used in this way - we can easily say 'very exciting - fairly exciting - fairly unexciting (or fairly boring) - very unexciting (or very boring)', but not 'praising'. Basically, '(im)polite', '(un)friendly' and '(un)serious' are adjectives, and 'exciting' can be used as an adjective. 'Praising', as far as I can think, can only be used as a verb ('The teacher was praising her students') and a gerund ('Praising students can make them study harder'), but not as an adjective (*'The praising teacher was very happy' - but compare ?'The praised students studied harder'). By the way 'unserious' is not commonly used. The spell checker here does not recognise it, but a Google search shows that it exists.

  • 1
    The normal way of saying "unserious" is "not serious" (you can use "not very serious" instead of "fairly unserious", and "not serious at all" instead of "very unserious"). books.google.com/ngrams/… – Dan Getz Nov 22 '14 at 12:14
  • Oh, I see, thx! – Ping Tang Nov 23 '14 at 2:55

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