Have you ever been very, very happy, but don’t know how to explain it? Does working make you very tired, but unsure how to describe this? I know that we all use very; it comes naturally and we don’t even have to think about it. Please don’t be offended when I say that it’s simply laziness (I am guilty as well).
American novelist and columnist Florence King gave the following advice to writers:
‘Very’ is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen.― Florence King
American author N.H. Kleinbaum was of the same opinion:
“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.” ― N.H. Kleinbaum
We often use “very” as a modifier for a word that could easily be replaced with a stronger, appropriate and more accurate word. If you have a habit of saying “very,” or you often struggle to find the right word here is an excellent list of words you can use instead of “very”. For instance, instead of “very colourful”, use ”vibrant”. Instead of “very funny”, use “hilarious”.
Of course, using big words doesn’t always make you sound smarter and these words may not quite express what you’re trying to say (or write), depending on the context. However, words exist for a reason, and if you use them in the right way they can be powerful.
The word ‘very’ does not communicate enough information. It’s one of those penny words that writers throw in to magnify another word. The only problem is, it doesn’t do that. In fact it has been called one of the laziest words in English language.
So how can we avoid using the word very? Below are 5 posters showing a list of words you can use with “very” and also showing an alternative to express yourself. Save the lists, study them and share with all your friends on social media! Learning should be for everyone.
So be “keen” to learn and build your “superb” and “exquisite” English vocabulary!
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