20 Ways to Avoid the Word "Very"

20 Ways to Avoid the Word "Very"

By  Amreen B. Shaikh of https://painttheworldwithwords.wordpress.com

Writing is a very wise sagacious exercise. One writes to emote their thoughts, ideas and concepts to the world. But there are few words which hinder the flow of it when one reads, and actually are considered a cliche in writing.

I recently read about the wrong in using the word very  in our our writing! Well, this notion is not an amendment to English Writing in the 21st Century, but is considered a loophole in effective writing since ages. There are few quotes which verify this idea and are stated below:

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain”

“‘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”

“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”

After reading this, some may immediately think of not using this word in their future writings and consider this word nothing more than extinct. But! Think.. why was this word invented in the first place, when it does nothing, but damage the meaning of sentences?

Let us find out its origin.

The word “very” is an adjective part of speech. It can also be treated as an adverb and was invented in the 13th Century, originating from a few languages like:

  • Anglo-French word verrai,
  • Old French word verai which means “true, truthful, sincere; right, just, legal,” from Vulgar Latin*veracus,
  • Latin word verax (genitive veracis) which means “truthful,” from verus “true” (source also of Italian vero),
  • PIE root *were-o- which means “true, trustworthy” (cf. Old English wær “a compact,” Old Dutch, Old High German war, Dutch waar, German wahr “true;” Welsh gwyr, Old Irish fir “true;” Old Church Slavonic vera “faith,” Russian viera “faith, belief”).

Later, it was considered a not-so-useful word in English Literature. The reasons behind this are many. One reason was the use of synonyms or newer defined words which sounded better than “very”.

On a lighter note, the demise of “very” gives us the usage of apt and neat words for phrasing our sentences. Her are 20 ways in which one can avoid using the word- very:

Avoid Saying very: Rather say: Avoid Saying very: Rather say:
afraid terrified neat immaculate
angry furious old ancient
bad atrocious poor destitute
beautiful exquisite pretty beautiful
big immense quite silent
bright dazzling risky perilous
capable accomplished roomy spacious
clean spotless rude vulgar
clever brilliant serious solemn
cold freezing small tiny

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