Mark Twain observed: “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
My friends from the old Toastmasters days (thank you Kirk) might remember that I suggested that instead of adding an amplifier (very, really, super, uber-) or a minimizer (almost, somewhat) in front of your adjectives, your writing will be stronger and clearer if you use an adjective that is strong enough to stand on its own, without a modifier. Kristin Wong’s article, and ProofreadingServices.com infographic that she points to, suggests 128 alternatives to “very.”
“Our English teachers told us to avoid the word “very” because it’s weak and vague. They were right, and many times, we use “very” as a modifier for a word that could easily be replaced with a stronger, more accurate word. This infographic tells you what to use instead.
Using big words doesn’t always make you sound smarter. However, words exist for a reason, and they can be powerful. Using the right words is less about sounding smart and more about being descriptive. Chances are, if you use the word “very” to describe something, there’s a better word out there. For example, instead of saying you’re “very happy,” you might say you’re ecstatic. This Infographic from ProofreadingServices.com Lists 128 Words You Can Use Instead of “Very.”