Tuesday, April 26, 2011

V is for Very

Very is a word that could very much be eliminated from our vocabulary without a ripple of consequence. If you remove the bolded verys in this post, you’ll see what I mean.

Very is very superficial and makes writing very weak. Rather than thinking of a stronger word, a lazy writer will settle for very to gain emphasis. For example: ‘he ran very fast’ could be changed to ‘he bolted’.

Very is a word I want to wage a war against. So, my advice is, get in the habit of finding the unneeded verys and delete them.

Are there any other words you try to avoid?

Note: This post is part of the A-Z Challenge. To learn more about the challenge click the image on my sidebar.

44 comments:

  1. How true! When I first joined a writing group, I realized i used "very" a little too often. Very often, in fact, lol! It's an easy habit to fall into.

    Great post and Great reminder!

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  2. I know what you mean! I try to teach my kids not to say "very" and I NEVER use it in writing! Great post!

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  3. Very is overused, but I would have never really thought about it being over used. Great post!

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  4. How very true!!

    Ooops! :-)

    Take care
    x

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  5. I, too, have leaned too heavily on "Very". Thanks for the reminder.

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  6. the more veries the less work for us translators he he he :)

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  7. This is a wonderful post! Indeed, the very's are SO very important to eliminate as much as possible. Another serially overused word is "that." Oh, and "just" too! Wow, I'm VERY bad at THAT one. *smile*

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  8. As my critique partners pointed out - FELT!

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  9. I came very close to selecting this word for the challenge. I very glad I didn't as you have done such a very good job of showing how very annoying it is. :O

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  10. Oh I do that. *shudders* That, and "just" oh and "but" they are the bane of my existence. Well, maybe that's too strong, but you get the idea!

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  11. KatieO, exactly, it can become a habit.

    Rebecca, it's great to teach your kids good habits.

    Emily, thanks

    Old Kitty, very ;)

    Pam, it's because it's so easy to use.

    Dezzy, lol. Note to everyone else: make Dezzy do the extra work! ;)

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  12. That was, really, just the very best advice there. *snort* I am so guilty of all those crutch words. They are lazy and flabby.

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  13. right... got it... off to check my ms ... very quickly...

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  14. Alyssia, oh yes, I have a list of words I overuse. THAT and JUST are amongst them.

    Alex, hahaha yeah, that one too

    Holly, ravenous, even? ;)

    Bish, thank you very much ;)

    Lisa, oh yes, "but" is one of my banes as well.

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  15. L G Smith, lol. Yes indeedy

    Michelle, hahahaha. Quickly is another one of those words...

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  16. Very true. (=
    That and any adverb-- lazy!

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  17. That used to be one of my major flaws. I still have to check for them.

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  18. I have been known to abuse 'slightly' in a manuscript. Also, until a beta reader pointed it out, I didn't realize how many of my characters were 'shooting' looks.

    My drafts were like a laser light show.

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  19. Every time I read a post like this, I realize I DO IT!! So far, I've cut out a ton of really, just, and pretty (as in, I was pretty sure). Off to find my verys (veries?)...
    erica

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  20. This is perfect. I learned this in my HS english class one of the few things that stuck with me :)

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  21. I've got two pages of words to search for and delete. LOL I don't think you want me to post all of them here, but I'm pretty sure that I posted them at one point on my blog. If you're interested, let me know. I can also just send them to you. ;D

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  22. BTW I looked up the movie and I'm watching it right now. It is hilarious I hope I got the right one "Dr. Horrible's sing-along blog" If not it is still wonderful and has a narcissist in it for sure kind of reminds me of mega mind.

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  23. Here are some words I try to avoid: very, really, just, went.

    I used to use them a lot!

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  24. You're so right. I try to delete that weak word when I come across it. I also tend to overuse "feel" and "that."

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  25. A great word to wage war on. I also include felt, that, began and suddenly.

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  26. Jo, yes, exactly ;)

    Lisa, they have a way of sneaking in

    Suze, haha yeah we often pick up favourite phrases.

    Erica, oh yes, 'really' is up there with 'very' in my opinion. (except in comments, then anything goes hehehe)

    Victoria, yep, I have a long list of words as well.

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  27. Josh, now, whenever I read 'very' it's as if it glows and pulses at me lol.

    Clarissa, I added 'went' to my list of words to avoid.

    Medeia, a few people have mentioned feel or felt so I've added that to my list as well, though I'm not sure it's one I use a lot. My crit partners may disagree. I'm going to have to check now ;)

    Melissa, oh yes, suddenly is a bad one as well. My early writing is peppered with 'and then suddenly...' lol

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  28. Yep, 'very' is one of those lazy words we use. There's too many to mention.

    Denise<3

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  29. Goood point! I need to scour my manuscripts for 'very' :D

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  30. I write "really" a lot. Let's burn that too.

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  31. Aah. I do have a tendancy to use the word very a little too often. Must try harder!

    Ellie Garratt

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  32. English is my second language and I never thought about words this way. I will from now on. One I overuse in emails and on my blog is SO. Thanks for a great post.--Inger

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  33. LOL! Yes I think we all have words we tend to overuse. When I read out my writing they pop up like rabbits from their holes. I knew a woman who was always saying 'absolutely'. I also worked with children who had echolalia and learnt that I kept saying 'Right' a lot.:O)

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  34. Absolutely true, Lynda...was going to say very true. Its a word I have used a lot, but nowadays I have tried to eliminate it from my writing.

    Another word I can be accused of using is but. Don't know why it just creeps in.

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  35. LOL Rachna, my "creep in" word is "Actually." I have no clue why. Maybe I think it makes me sound educated. ;D Sad, but true, my five year old is saying it now! ARGH!

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  36. I never thought of this before, thanks for bringing it up. I'll pay attention in my writing in the future.

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  37. Yep...very, actually, just, BUT, still, even, etc. We all have our favorite pet words!

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  38. L'Aussie, there are a lot

    Trisha, hope it helps

    Jennifer, yep, I'll provide the matches ;)

    Ellie, I love the find option in Word

    Inger, yep, so is another common one

    Susanne, thanks

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  39. Madeleine, right...it's funny how we often need someone to tell us our favourite word. I say absolutely a lot, though I don't write it as much (except in comments lol)

    Rachna, good job. Sometimes it takes training. And yes, I use 'but' far too often as well.

    Victoria, hahaha amusing.

    Joy, hope it helps

    Carol, hehe I like that you capitalised BUT ;)

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  40. 'Tis a lovely post. Counting the iterations of very reminds me of counting the number of times someone says, "y'know," "uh," or "basically." Only now I have developed a veritable "very" tick that makes it almost irresistable to use.

    By the way, the very lovely photo of the fire is very comforting.

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  41. Alan, hehe if only there were a lotion we could buy for such a tick ;)

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  42. I usually avoid it in my writing. One might slip through now and then. It's a word that should be shown.

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I'd love to hear your opinion. Thanks for leaving a comment.