30 Ways to Avoid Using the Word ‘Very’

extreme adjectives

How to make point as concise and as detailed as possible.

A common mistake is to use very with adjectives to stress its importance in the sentence. This can easily be avoided thanks to the creation of extreme adjectives which offers the same function, but without the repetition. It’s quite common for people to use ‘very’ in everyday situations but there are times where its use is just excessive. To get an idea of what the issue is, that a look at these examples:


Sandra and Jennifer are talking about what they are hoping to do in the coming weeks.


Sandra: Hi Jennifer, not seen you in a while.

Jennifer: You’re right it’s been a very very long time. (ages)

Sandra: Very true. Shall we get a quick bit to eat now then?

Jennifer: Sure why not. I’m very hungry. (starving)

Sandra: Me too. I’d like to have a very big bowl of noodle soup. (huge)

Jennifer: Sounds nice. I know a place near by.

Sandra: Sure. Let’s go.


Other extreme adjectives

Regular Adjective Extreme Adjective
dirty filthy
interesting fascinating
funny hilarious
hungry starving
pretty gorgeous
ugly hideous
clean spotless
big huge, gigantic, giant
bad awful, terrible, horrible


Materials for class

We have created a wonderful poster outlining 30 alternative ways to show extremes without using very. We have “30 ways to avoid using very” poster in PDF format for use in classrooms.

To lastly illustrate the redundancy of the word “very” here are two telling quotes on its mutual dislike.

‘Very’ is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen. ~Florence King

So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys – to woo women – and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays. ~N.H. Kleinbaum