45 ways to avoid using the word VERYIn Canadian written English, it is important to learn how to be concise. This is a quality of well-written, refined writing and speaking, although it is not as important in casual speech. Being concise involves using specific vocabulary which more clearly states what it is you want to express.

The following article looks specifically at the word VERY which is very overused! We could say quite overused, often overused, notably overused, rather overused, extremely overused or simply overused. Each phrase has a slightly different emphasis.

We can apply this to other areas of writing and speech. It is good practice to edit your writing, one area being vocabulary usage and repetition. Replacing repeated terms and phrases with more concise vocabulary will step up your writing a notch. (That’s an idiom. A notch is a hole in your belt – when we tighten the belt by one hole, we say we moved it over or tightened it by one notch.)

So here’s a start to your vocabulary development. Choose a few words you like and start using them.


45 Ways to Avoid Using the Word ‘Very’

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)

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