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.
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|