This is a very good question. It is also an excellent question! In conversations, many English speakers use the word “very” as a way to intensify the value of another word. When we speak casually, we often choose the first word that comes to mind and add the word “very” to emphasize that meaning.
However, the word “very” strengthens the value of another word without adding anything descriptive. In fact, many writers and teachers think that “very” is an unnecessary word that should be used rarely.
There are other ways to say “very” in English. You can choose strong, appropriate nouns and verbs that will make your point. Doing this will increase your vocabulary and improve your fluency.
Here’s an example:
I have to give a presentation to 20 people in my office next week, and I’m very afraid to speak in public.
Instead of saying “very afraid” like in the example sentence, try “terrified,” “frightened,” or “petrified.” Not only do these words roughly mean the same as “very afraid, but” they are also more descriptive.
I have to give a presentation to 20 people in my office next week, and I’m terrified to speak in public.
Using “very” is a habit for some English speakers. You can break this habit starting with some common expressions that use the word “very” and change to use more descriptive words.
Instead of “very cute” … say “adorable”
Instead of “very tired”… say “exhausted”
Instead of “very big”… say “massive”
Instead of “very important”… say “crucial”
Instead of “very careful”… say “cautious”
Here are a few more words that can replace “very”:
- Very beautiful —> Gorgeous
- Very boring —> Dull
- Very noisy —> Deafening
- Very poor —> Destitute
- Very cheap —> Stingy
- Very clean —> Spotless
- Very short —> Brief
- Very difficult —> Arduous
- Very dry —> Arid
- Very quick —> Rapid
- Very bad —> Awful
- Very angry —> Furious
One of the best methods to find other ways to say “very” is to increase your vocabulary. This is easy to do with Cambly. Tutors are online 24/7 to help you with the curriculum or simply have an interesting conversation.
Take a look at these 147 words you can use instead of “very.”
Author: Stephanie, Cambly Tutor
If you’d like to keep this conversation going with Stephanie, give her a call on Cambly or make a reservation with her here.