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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Are You Very Very Sure of This? #5

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY by Royo (my artistic fake!)
KEIRA KNIGHTLEY by Royo (my artistic fake!) (Photo credit: The PIX-JOCKEY (visual fantasist))
For these few weeks, I’ve been looking at how writers very often use ‘very’, which, as you know very well, is very bad.

Okay; that may be very silly, but we all do it: use ‘very’ to modify verbs or adjectives rather than search for something stronger to say the same thing better. So, here are a few examples to make it easier for you to overcome the easy option. Choose with care; synonyms aren’t always exact matches, so consider context. And bear in mind that I have my prejudices, and I’m male; hence the (sometimes) jokey suggestions at the end of each sample.

Very clean – spotless, scrubbed, spruce, sterile, stainless, immaculate, unsoiled, unsullied, pure, Mountain Air.
Very rude – vulgar, gross, crass, coarse, yobbish, disreputable, improper, sordid, ribald, obscene, Mel Smith.
Very dry – parched, arid, waterless, desiccated, desert, seared, wrung out, xerophilous, drained, Sauvignon Blanc.
Very tasty – delicious, mouth-watering, appetising, rich, palatable, tangy, spicy, Rachel Riley.
Very happy – jubilant, joyful, beaming, radiant, blessed, blithe, merry, cheery, gratified, Happy (1 of 7 dwarves).
Very weak – feeble, powerless, vulnerable, delicate, infirm, debilitated, limp, wishy-washy, Nick Clegg.
Very eager – keen, zealous, enthusiastic, forward, dedicated, willing, game, receptive, Katy Perry (as Katy Keene).
Very thin – gaunt, lean, rangy, wiry, spare, skinny, bony, skeletal, haggard, spindly, scrawny, slender, Keira Knightley (though, in the picture above, she's anything but! That's the male fantasy for you.)

This is the fifth lot; last batch next week.
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