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Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Are You Very Very Sure of This? #6

Better Than Today
Better Than Today (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
For these six 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 a stronger way to say the same thing better. So, here are the last few examples to make it easier for you to overcome the easy option. Choose with care; synonyms aren’t exact matches, so consider context. And bear in mind that I have my prejudices, and I’m male; hence the (sometimes) jokey, and sometimes admiring, suggestions at the end of each sample.

Very clever – brilliant, talented, bright, brainy, forward, scintillating, gifted, capable, sharp, perspicacious, Professor Mary Beard.
Very fast – quick, swift, rapid, speedy, zippy, lively, dashing, darting, instantaneous, nimble, man having sex.
Very serious – solemn, sober, stolid, grave, stern, unsmiling, weighty, critical, of consequence, using your vote.
Very tired – exhausted, fatigued, spent, fagged, pooped, done, overworked, strained, bone-weary, me during 10 years of ME/CFS.
Very ugly – hideous, foul, monstrous, frightful, loathsome, repulsive, repellent, odious, Freddy Krueger.
Very cold – freezing, bitter, biting, raw, piercing, frigid, wintry, icy, glacial, Siberian, George Osborne.
Very small – tiny, teeny, minimal, meagre, skimpy, compact, scant, flimsy, microscopic, dainty, Kylie Minogue (good things come in small packages).
Very fierce – ferocious, raging, mad, wild, vicious, blood-thirsty, ravening, rabid, frenetic, the Balrog.
Very valuable – precious, invaluable, priceless, costly, rare, unique, blue-chip, rich, inestimable, freedom of speech.
Very good – superb, excellent, superior, ace, A1, superlative, choice, select, meritorious, best, sustainable energy.

This is the very last batch. Next, I’ll be looking at something a little more subjective: emotional v intellectual words to use for effect.

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