November 17, 2017
Mark Twain once said, “Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very’; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
Now, you’d have to do a whole lot worse than “damn” to have it deleted these days, but you get the point. “Very” is one of those overused words that rarely need to be there, and just ends up making your content writing suffer.
I’m sure I have used the word very countless times in my life, probably even in The Content Company blog. However, in the interest of helping to cleanse the internet of poor quality content, I will make an effort to purge my writing of “very” in the future. Much like our post onditching unnecessary adverbs, this one should help point you in the right direction and result in higher quality content.
The main issue with using “very” in your writing is that it weakens the sentence and doesn’t provide enough information about the situation. It is designed to magnify the effect of another word, but some consider it one of the most useless words in the English language.
When you lose the “very” and replace it with a better word, it makes the sentence more concise and will resonate more clearly with your audience. Content writing is all about getting your message across, and every time you can make that message more clear to the reader, you’ll see better results.
Little Bit of Lazy Too
In most cases, we end up throwing “very” in the mix because we are too lazy to look up a suitable alternative. And there is almost always an alternative that isn’t just suitable, but much, much better. If you are just too lazy to take the time to help boost your content, then it might be time for some professional help.
Let’s be honest, when you throw words on a screen your goal is to have the biggest impact possible. You want to make a sale, educate your audience, entice them to sign up, provide useful info they can use and persuade them to become clients or customers. And using very to describe any word is not impactful, it’s just telling the word you are a lazy writer and couldn’t be bothered to find a word that would capture their imagination.
Quite often, you can just get rid of “very” altogether and the sentence will be just fine. You don’t need to be “very interested” in a new product, you can just be interested. The story doesn’t need to be “very different”; it can just be different.
Of course, there is a bounty of wonderful words that will enable you to drop “very” and here are some great examples to get your mind moving:
Very happy = ecstatic or jubilantVery easy = effortless or simpleVery excited = thrilledVery dirty = filthyVery fancy = lavishVery funny = hilariousVery good = excellentVery afraid = terrifiedVery unhappy = miserableVery thirsty = parched
I’m sure you are aware that many people still use the word “very” with some of these substitutes, but it is not necessary and only makes the writing sound stupid. In the future, let’s tighten things up and get rid of this pointless word in all we do!
If you’d like to talk about “very” or any other offensive word, feel free to Book a Free Consultation and we will be happy to oblige.
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