Grammar Friday

Thanks to South African writing teacher Amanda Patterson for this table of words that will help you avoid using the word “very” in your writing.

Why avoid it? It’s lazy and ineffective. Remember the advice of Mark Twain: 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.

Or, you can use one of the words below to make your writing more powerful. To see the whole table at once, select “Show 50 entries” using the drop-down box below.

45 words to help you avoid using the word "very"

Instead of saying very ... :

Say:

afraid

terrified

angry

furious

bad

atrocious

beautiful

exquisite

big

immense

bright

dazzling

capable

accomplished

clean

spotless

clever

brilliant

cold

freezing

conventional

conservative

dirty

squalid

dry

parched

eager

keen

fast

quick

fierce

ferocious

good

superb

happy

jubilant

hot

scalding

hungry

ravenous

large

colossal

lively

vivacious

loved

adored

neat

immaculate

old

ancient

poor

destitute

pretty

beautiful

quiet

silent

risky

perilous

roomy

spacious

rude

vulgar

serious

solemn

small

tiny

strong

unyielding

stupid

idiotic

tasty

delicious

thin

gaunt

tired

exhausted

ugly

hideous

valuable

precious

weak

feeble

wet

soaked

wicked

villainous

wise

sagacious

worried

anxious

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