Why and How to Avoid “Very” to Become a Better Writer

Updated on May 20, 2020
Arnaba Saha profile image

Arnaba is a professional content writer. She is here to share her experience in impressive and effective writing skills and strategies.

Writing Is a Serious Business

As I always say, becoming a writer is easy, but becoming a good writer is a serious and strenuous journey.

You need to discipline yourself to choose effective and impactful words. Irrespective of the length of your sentences, every word should have a meaning, purpose, and objective. In fact, knowing what not to write is more crucial than knowing what to write. In parlance to this article, it is the filler words (qualifiers such as “very”) that you need to avoid to make your written work crisp and tight.

What Are Filler Words?

Filler words are one critical aspect of writing that can easily slip into your works (oftentimes unintentionally), and they hardly add any value to your writing. They might help you increase your word count and making your write-up look lengthy. However, they additionally make your work diluted or superfluous. These "filler words" include qualifiers, modifiers, and unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.

Why You Need to Take Your “Very” Seriously

“Very” is one such qualifier that adds little to no value to your write-ups. On the contrary, it weakens your writing. Such a qualifier like “very” weakens the words (noun, verb, adverbs), which it intends to strengthen. It would have been effective to replace “very” with a strong verb, adverb, or adjective to express your exact thoughts.

Perils of Overusing “Very”

Overuse of a qualifier like “very” might indicate a lazy approach by the writer. A reader might assume, you didn’t invest enough time to find the appropriate word that exactly describes what you meant. Your over-reliance on “very” can be considered an amateurish or novice writing approach. Thus, try to replace them with powerful and adequate verbs or adverbs to make your writing impactful.

For example: Avoid writing “he is a very bad man.” Try to replace it with “he is an atrocious man.” The verb atrocious clearly explains the intensity or nature of the word bad you wanted to express.

Thus, here follows a massive list of 101 different ways to replace “very” to make your sentences more meaningful and effective.

101 Ways to Avoid "Very" in Your Writing

(click column header to sort results)
Avoid Saying "Very..."  
Rather Say  
Avoid Saying "Very..."  
Rather Say  
Accurate
Exact
Afraid
Terrified
Angry
Furious
Annoying
Exasperating
Bad
Atrocious
Beautiful
Exquisite
Big
Immense
Bright
Dazzling
Busy
Swamped
Calm
Serene
Capable
Accomplished
Careful
Cautious
Clean
Spotless
Clear
Obvious
Clever
Brilliant
Cold
Freezing
Colorful
Vibrant
Competitive
Cutthroat
Complete
Comprehensive
Confused
Perplexed
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Conventional
Conservative
Creative
Innovative
Crowded
Bustling
Cute
Adorable
Dangerous
Perilous
Dear
Cherished
Deep
Profound
Detailed
Meticulous
Determined
Resolute
Different
Disparate
Dirty
Squalid
Dry
Parched
Eager
Keen
Easy
Effortless
Empty
Desolate
Excited
Thrilling
Fast
Quick
Exciting
Exhilarating
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Friendly
Amiable
Frightened
Alarmed
Glad
Overjoyed
Frightening
Terrifying
Good
Superb
Happy
Jubilant
Hard
Difficult
Hot
Scorching
Hungry
Ravenous
Hurt
Battered
Kind
Compassionate
Large
Colossal
Lively
Vivacious
Long
Extensive
Loose
Slack
Loud
Deafening
Loved
Adored
Neat
Immaculate
Noisy
Deafening
Often
Frequently
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Old
Ancient
Old- Fashioned
Archaic
Open
Transparent
Painful
Excruciating
Pale
Ashen
Perfect
Flawless
Poor
Destitute
Pretty
Beautiful
Quick
Rapid
Quiet
Silent
Rainy
Pouring
Risky
Perilous
Roomy
Spacious
Rude
Vulgar
Scary
Chilling
Serious
Solemn
Shiny
Gleaming
Short
Brief
Shy
Timid
Simple
Basic
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Avoid Saying "Very..."
Rather Say
Small
Tiny
Special
Exceptional
Strong
Unyielding
Stupid
Idiotic
Sure
Certain
Talented
Gifted
Tasty
Delicious
Thin
Gaunt
Tight
Constricting
Tiny
Minuscule
Tired
Exhausted
Ugly
Hideous
Valuable
Precious
Warm
Hot
Weak
Feeble
Well-To-Do
Wealthy
Wet
Soaked
Wicked
Villainous
Wide
Expansive
Wise
Sagacious
Worried
Anxious
 
 

There you go! Now you can use all these fantastic words to replace the “very” in your sentences and drastically improve your write-ups. Moreover, this practice of avoiding the overuse of the word “very” will help you find your writing style.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary blog, it has more than 1.7 million words that are currently in use (and more than 47,000 obsolete words). Why restrict yourself to repeating just one word when you have an abundant resource of words to play with? Nurture your vocabulary, learn new words and their meanings, and try to apply them in your writing.

I hope that today you learned why and how to avoid "very" to become a better writer as promised. Now, try to use this resource to solve the following practice exercise.

"Very" Replacement Practice Exercise

Want to practice this skill? In the following passage, replace "very..." with adequate words.

The instance Jake entered the room, it was very clear that something was missing. He started observing all his belonging very carefully to see what was missing. Jake usually kept his room very clean, but due to the changes in his very tight schedule, he was unable to manage his time properly. He looked very worried and very tired. Suddenly, he noticed a very small piece of paper on his desk, which read, “I will return your notebook tomorrow.” without any name on it. The handwriting was very neat and very tiny. He instantly realized, it was his little sister’s doing, who was very dear to him.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Arnaba Saha

    Comments

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      • Arnaba Saha profile imageAUTHOR

        Arnaba Saha 

        8 days ago from New Delhi

        Hi Sameer Ji,

        Thanks for your appreciation. I am glad you liked the topic, article, and exercises. My purpose in writing this series of articles is to help fellow writers, particularly beginners to avoid common mistakes like this one.

        I hope you my other articles as well.

        Click on the following link to read more.

        http://hub.me/anxqZ

      • profile image

        Sameer Asthana 

        8 days ago

        Writing Is a Serious Business, thanks for making it easy. Great choice of topics. Really helpful Arnaba. Especially that exercise part. It will help us on day to day writings.

      • Arnaba Saha profile imageAUTHOR

        Arnaba Saha 

        2 weeks ago from New Delhi

        Thanks, Sowrabha Ji, for your kind words. I am glad your enjoy the hub.

        You have rightly said every word counts while writing and reading as well. As a writer, we need to make a conscious effort to use the word appropriately.

        Thanks again for your appreciation and time.

      • Arnaba Saha profile imageAUTHOR

        Arnaba Saha 

        2 weeks ago from New Delhi

        Hello Niks,

        Yes, you are right. Grammatically sound and well-written articles can be weak and irritating as well. Qualifiers like "very", "really", "quite", "almost", "fair", etc, are superfluous at times and doe not serve any purpose. It is essential to replace them with a powerful and appropriate noun or verbs.

        Thanks for your appreciation and time. I wish, other writers will find this helpful as well.

      • Sowrabha Mahesh profile image

        sowspeaks 

        2 weeks ago from Bengaluru

        Hi Arnaba ! Thanks for enriching my vocabulary the easy-peasy way. The exercise at the end made learning fun. The right word at the right place makes for a satisfied writer and an engaged reader. All writers can learn a thing or two or more from this article. Thanks for the good work.

      • Niks007 profile image

        Niks 

        2 weeks ago from India

        You have provided some deep insights that writers make. Even though grammatically the write-ups are sound but the repetition of the word "very" can make them less attractive. As writing is a serious business, every writer should talk a note of this. Your articles based on improving grammar are worth reading.

      • Arnaba Saha profile imageAUTHOR

        Arnaba Saha 

        3 weeks ago from New Delhi

        Thanks, Poonam Ji, for such lovely remarks. I am thrilled by your comment. Thanks again for your time and appreciation.

      • Arnaba Saha profile imageAUTHOR

        Arnaba Saha 

        3 weeks ago from New Delhi

        Thanks Vikram Ji. It is my pleasure that my article was able to provide some value to you. Hope you will equally enjoy my other articles as well. Keep reading.

      • Arnaba Saha profile imageAUTHOR

        Arnaba Saha 

        3 weeks ago from New Delhi

        Hello Muralikrishna Ji,

        Words are a writer's tool and the strength or weakness of these words depend on the writer. If a writer makes a conscious effort to use his/her words effectively then the quality of the write-up will definitively enhance.

        I am glad you like this hub. Thanks again for your time and appreciation.

      • Poonam-Malik profile image

        POONAM MALIK 

        3 weeks ago from Faridabad

        Excellent, Arnaba. The best part of your article was the exercise at the end that hit the nail bang on. It made me realize the need to avoid 'very.'

        Thank you for showing me another way to improve my writing.

        Keep it up, dear.

      • talesofvikram profile image

        Vikram Brahma 

        3 weeks ago from Assam, India

        Hey Arnaba very impressive, you have written impressive article. Your command over English language is fantastic. I learned new things through your article. Thank you for sharing and writing such an article.

      • hmkrishna profile image

        Halemane Muralikrishna 

        3 weeks ago from South India

        An impressive piece of writing, Ms Arnaba. Use of words in writings and speeches get expressed spontaneously. I am sure consciously we may not use words repetitively. Sometimes, such expressions remain one of the individual's styles. Next time when I write, it will be a point to keep in mind to verify such usage.

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