Whilst it might seem like a good idea to use ‘very’ to strengthen your point, it invariably does not. In fact, it makes your point weaker. It’s the most common sign of mediocre writing and says almost immediately to the reader that you have poor vocabulary. Whilst it’s not wrong to use ‘very’ to modify the meaning of a verb, adjective or other adverb, it just doesn’t cut the mustard. For example, ‘My desk is immaculate.’ sounds a lot better than ‘My desk is very neat’.

It’s not just ‘very’ though, any adverb that is used to tell the extent of something will weaken your writing. Other examples include ‘Too’, ‘Quite’ and ‘Rather’. Using ‘very’ or any of the other adverbs is a lot easier than actually expanding your vocabulary, but you’ll not become a better writer.

Unfortunately, the only way to remedy your chronic usage of 'very' it to improve your vocabulary.

How can I improve my vocabulary?

First things first, improving your vocabulary is no easy feat but the easiest way to start is by reading. Plain and simple, reading other writers explain things, tell stories and impart knowledge will help and inspire you to do the same. If you come across words that you don’t know the meaning of, look them up and write three sentences with the word in it. This will help you remember, understand and contextualize the word.

If reading doesn’t appeal to you, then get a thesaurus. Simply look up whatever you are putting after "very" (e.g. very 'good') and use a more advanced and interesting synonym to replace (e.g. Marvellous). You can also check out our Instagram page where we post a word of the day a few times a week for inspiration.

Check out our more in depth guide of how to improve your vocabulary here.

Cheat sheet:

If you need some quick pointers for replacing 'very' check this out:

Avoid Use instead: Avoid Use instead:
very scared terrified very quiet silent
very neat/tidy immaculate very fragile delicate
very big/large humongous/immense very fast brisk/quick
very good outstanding/superb very tired exhausted
very small miniscule very cold freezing
very bad atrocious very slow sluggish
very nice charming very smart intelligent