Writing Tip of the Week: Don’t Overuse Words Like “Very”

Picture Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/writing-advice-from-famous-authors
Picture Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/writing-advice-from-famous-authors

Today we’re going to discuss something that I’m very guilty of: Using the verb “very” too much in my writing. I notice that other people seem to have the same problem, so it seemed like a good topic to cover.

“Very” is one of those words that is typically unnecessary but it’s also a very common word. I’m certain that I hear the word used at least a few times every day just from talking to people or reading posts on Facebook. It’s probably one of those words that most of us don’t even realize that we use so much. I sure didn’t. “Very” is a word that doesn’t contribute to your writing. Mark Twain is definitely onto something.

You may not even notice how much you use the word until you try to catch yourself in the act, or if you are lucky, someone will kindly point it out to you (like someone did for me).

My take on the word “very” is that there are times where I could justify its use, like in dialogue since it is part of our modern language (especially if you are writing for a teenage audience). But for the most part, I would advise you to avoid it whenever possible. If you aren’t sure if you overuse it, try searching your work and note how often you use it. Any time it looks unnecessary, delete it! Make your words count.

Another word that seems to be overused in our society  is “really.” I mean, really, they are both used in the same way.

That was very sweet of you.

That was really sweet of you.

See?

Remember, if there’s any certain writing topics you’d like to see me cover, just ask. I’m always open for suggestions.

jncahill_name

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2 thoughts on “Writing Tip of the Week: Don’t Overuse Words Like “Very”

    1. I would recommend seeing if the sentence can work without the “very” whenever possible.

      It was a very nice day. It was a nice day. Not a ton of difference. It is okay to use “very” once in a while, just not to overdo it.

      Like: It was a very nice day. I was wearing a very pretty dress. Today was a very special day.

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