We often use “very” and “really” for emphasis. They’re easy to use; we just plop them in front of another word to give that other word more impact.
For example, “I’m very hungry” tells the reader I’m not just your run-of-the-mill hungry. It’s more than that.
The problem, however, is that since this practice is so easy, it can make us lazy. Why think of a more meaningful way to make your point, when you can make it instantaneously? Even though it does get your point across, sometimes the point made loses its impact.
Often, single words exist that mean the same thing as your “very” or “really” phrases. Look at these 4 examples:
- Very hungry vs. Famished
- Really tall vs. Towering
- Very tired vs. Exhausted
- Really happy vs. Elated
Notice how in each example, the impact of the idea is stronger and more emotional with the single word. By eliminating “very” and “really” phrases from your vocabulary and replacing them with more powerful, single words, your language can have the same strength and emotion as the examples above.
Next time you’re tempted to use “very” or “really”, stop for a moment and contemplate whether a stronger, shorter alternative already exists.
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