Very many writers have a very bad habit of overusing “very.” The word “very” is an adverb that, when added to an adjective, implies emphasis or multiplies its effect.
This problem has been ongoing for years. So many authors have put in their two cents regarding the issue. Mark Twain suggests using “damn” instead so that the editor will have to delete it every single time. Florence King also points out that “very” weakens a sentence instead of strengthening it. The following quote is by N. H. Kleinbaum, author of Dead Poets Society:
“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.”
Overusing the word “very” (or any other similar adverbs) can hurt your writing and, more importantly, your credibility and reputation as a writer. The excessive use of a certain word, especially one as simple as “very,” makes your writing seem lazy. As a writer, you might come off as someone who doesn’t have a good vocabulary or a good command of the English language.
Even worse consequences could happen. In newspapers and magazines, typesetters might have no choice but to cut off the end of a document if it doesn’t fit a page. This is done without the consultation of the writer of the article. A huge and important part of your work could be lobbed off without your knowledge just because you had too many “verys.”
And it’s not just “very” that tends to be overused by readers. “Really” is another filler word that writers use too often. “Stuff” or “things” is another one, except this one is not an adverb. All in all, the problem with “very” is that it is imprecise language. If you use “very” too often, especially in descriptions, your readers will come up with a blurry image. Always strive to use precise language.
How to kick the habit? Simple. Read. Keep reading. Expand your vocabulary. The easiest way to beat a bad habit is to stop indulging in it. Don’t be part of the multitude of writers with this atrocious habit.
Disclaimer: Image is not ours. Credit to the owner.