Simple Writing Revision: Adjectives that Include Your “Very”

I’ve been teaching a writer how you rarely, if ever, need the word “very.” You don’t need to use it ever again! Almost always, you’ll find an adjective that means the “very” that you want.

If you’re coaching a younger writer, you can challenge them to find the word that includes the “very” in it. It’s a more precise and vivid way of writing.


Very tired = exhausted

Very mad = incensed

Very happy = ecstatic

Very sad = despairing

Very late = long-overdue

Very boring = tedious

Very surprised = astonished

Very stressed = overwhelmed

Very in love = infatuated

You get the point. You can, of course, use very if you like. But remember to give your readers the joy of seeing the “very” in their minds instead of you telling them. Finding a better word rewards the reader and gives you some variation in wording.


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