Mastering English: Beyond 'Very'

Replace ‘Very’ with Precision: A Guide to Mastering English Language Implications

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Derek Cupp

By Derek Cupp

English language mastery isn’t just about grammar and vocabulary, it’s also about nuances. One such nuance: Moving from the generic ‘very’ to more precise adjectives. It can elevate your writing from good to phenomenal.

Now, let’s delve into why replacing ‘very’ is so crucial for enhancing your English proficiency. I’ll help you grasp this linguistic concept by breaking down its implications, and offer practical ways to incorporate precision in your everyday communication.

Stay tuned as we explore this exciting facet of the English language together!

The Power of Precision: Replacing ‘Very’

I’ve noticed that many folks, when trying to add emphasis to their speech or writing, tend to overuse the word ‘very’. Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing inherently bad about using ‘very’. It’s a perfectly acceptable English word. But it’s often used as a crutch when we can’t find the precise term for what we’re trying to express.

Consider this: instead of saying “I’m very tired”, why not say “I’m exhausted”? Instead of “It was very hot today,” how about “It was scorching today”? Do you see how these replacements not only make your language more colorful and engaging but also let you convey your thoughts with greater precision?

Let me illustrate my point further with some common examples:

Instead of…


Very happy


Very sad


Very scared


The advantage here isn’t just about avoiding repetition or sounding smarter. It’s about learning to communicate our feelings, experiences, and ideas more accurately. And that is powerful.

Now let’s put it into practice! Here are some exercises I’d suggest:

  • Next time you catch yourself using ‘very’ in a sentence, stop and think if there’s a stronger word you could use instead.

  • When reading books or articles, take note of how authors avoid using ‘very’ and learn from them.

  • Use online tools like which can help identify synonyms for commonly overused words.

Remember, our goal isn’t simply to eliminate the use of ‘very’. Rather, it’s aiming for precision in our language—the kind that paints vivid pictures in people’s minds and conveys exactly what we mean. That’s the power behind replacing ‘very’ with precision!

Ditching ‘Very’ for More Expressive English Language

I’ll let you in on a little secret: we all overuse the word ‘very’. It’s like an easy crutch that we lean on when we’re trying to punch up our language. But, it’s not as impactful as you think. In fact, relying too heavily on ‘very’ can dilute your message and make your language less precise.

Consider this: instead of saying “very happy”, why not say “ecstatic”? Or swap out “very tired” for “exhausted”. Doing so adds color and specificity to your language, allowing you to communicate with more precision and flair.

Here are some examples:

Instead of…


Very happy


Very tired


Very scared


Let’s take things a step further. In place of “she ran very quickly”, try out “she sprinted”. And rather than writing that someone was “very angry”, convey the intensity by saying they were “furious”.

Take note of these replacements:

Instead of…


She ran very quickly

She sprinted

He was very angry

He was furious

By ditching ‘very’ in favor of more expressive language, you’ll engage your readers at a deeper level. Not only will your vocabulary improve, but also the richness and depth of what you’re communicating will be elevated.

Remember though, there’s no need to banish ‘very’ from your vocabulary completely. It has its place. Just use it sparingly and thoughtfully!

And hey – if Shakespeare could do without leaning on ‘very’, then so can I – and so can you!

Conclusion: Master the Art of Precise English

Let’s get right to it. The key to mastering precise English lies in your ability to replace ‘very’ with more specific adjectives and adverbs.

So why is this so important? It’s because using ‘very’ can often lead to overused, vague descriptions, while choosing a more direct word offers precision, power, and clarity. Let me show you what I mean:

With ‘Very’

Replaced With Precision

Very tired


Very happy


Very small


By replacing ‘very’ with these words, your sentences become much more vivid and engaging. But it’s not just about making your writing more interesting—it’s also about communication efficiency.

Imagine you’re speaking with someone who isn’t fluent in English. If you say “I’m very tired,” they might understand that you’re somewhat tired—but if you say “I’m exhausted,” they’ll understand immediately just how tired you are.

Remember – language is all about conveying meaning as accurately as possible! So let’s take another look at our examples:

  • Instead of saying “I’m very tired,” say “I’m exhausted.”

  • Instead of saying “I’m very happy,” say “I’m ecstatic.”

  • Instead of saying something is “very small,” describe it as being “tiny.”

Can you see the difference? By choosing these words over simply adding ‘very’, we’ve made our statements far clearer and stronger.

There’s an art to knowing when to be exacting with language and when brevity does the trick. And don’t forget – while we’re aiming for precision here, there’s nothing wrong with occasional use of ‘very’; sometimes it’s exactly what the sentence needs!

Mastering precise English takes practice but believe me—it’s worth every bit of effort. Not only will it make your speech sound more natural (especially if English isn’t your first language), but it’ll also improve your comprehension skills. This way, no matter where in the world life or work may take you—you’ll be well-equipped for clear communication.

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