Avoid Using ‘Very’ to Sound More Powerful in English + FREE Download
Want to express yourself more easily in English and be more interesting in conversations? I know you do. And you’re going to learn how with one simple strategy: avoid using ‘very’ in English.
Wait. Why should you avoid using very? Why is the word very bad?
You probably learned to use it in a grammar book. You hear it in conversations and on TV a lot. So what’s wrong with it?
You’re right, we do use words like very, really, and so to add emphasis, but here’s the problem: We overuse those words.
When we use them too much, they lose their meaning, their power, they become kind of boring, lazy words.
When you begin to avoid using very in English, you become more creative and powerful in your language.
You’re able to adapt to conversations effortlessly (effortlessly is a great alternative to very easily).
So now that you know why you should avoid using very, let’s look more closely at how and which words to use instead.
How to Avoid Using Very in English & Which Words to Use Instead
Let’s start by comparing two sentences.
Which sentence do you think sounds better:
Yesterday I did a really hard workout at the gym and afterwards I felt very tired and very thirsty
Yesterday I did a grueling workout at the gym; afterward, I felt drained and parched.
Here’s another example to consider…
She felt very happy about the promotion and was really excited to tell her family about it.
She felt overjoyed about the promotion and was eager to tell her family about it.
In these two examples, which question sounds more interesting and powerful?
Yes! Definitely the 2nd sentence.
When you avoid using very in English, your language is more powerful.
Grueling, drained, parched, and overjoyed give us a clearer, more interesting picture in our minds.
There are extra layers of meaning and this makes the sentence more exciting.
So here are some ways to avoid using very and what to use instead:
- Very hard → Grueling (punishing, torturous, demanding)
- Very tired → Drained (zero energy)
- Very thirsty → Parched
- Very happy → Overjoyed
- Very excited → Eager
Let’s look at more examples of how to avoid using very.
Let’s say you had a very bad day at work. Ok. Cool. But can you think of another word to use instead of very?
What about horrible. Horrendous. Depressing. Maybe even grueling.
For example, if you’re an account in the United States, tax season is probably grueling and horrendous for you because you’re working morning, noon, and night every single day of the week with no break for 4 months.
That’s not just bad. It’s not very bad. It’s horrendous. ( = extremely unpleasant, horrifying, or terrible.)
Here’s a question for you:
Do you get annoyed when your neighbors play really loud music?
Let’s replace that with deafening music (Deafening = so loud as to make it impossible to hear anything else).
When you’re talking about the weather, try this.
Instead of saying:
- It’s very cold outside.
- Or it very hot today.
- Very hot → Sweltering or boiling hot
- Very cold → Frigid or freezing
Tell me, what’s the winter like where you live? Is it cold or frigid? You can share with me in the comments below.
And finally, how do you feel speaking English?
How about apprehensive (anxious or fearful that something bad or unpleasant will happen)?
Or uneasy (feeling anxiety; troubled or uncomfortable)?
I feel very certain this lesson will help you advance your English vocabulary.
Or even better… I feel confident that this lesson will help.
And now I want you to practice. Are you ready to add these new words to your English vocabulary so you can use them in daily conversation?
1. What’s the winter like where you live (and don’t use very cold)?
2. How you feel when you get really good news (and don’t use very happy)?
3. What is your favorite word from today’s list and how you could use it in your own example?
And if you want to continue adding powerful vocabulary to your English, then join me next week for part 2 so you can learn how to continue adding new vocabulary to your English easily.
Have a fantastic Confident English Wednesday!
P.S. ❤️this lesson? Get all my top vocabulary lessons here.
Get the Confidence to Say What You Want in English
Download my free training on how to build the courage and confidence you need to say what you want in English.
You'll also get my Confident English lessons delivered by email every Wednesday and occasional information about available courses. You can unsubscribe any time.
Learn with me
Most Recent Lessons
Motivate your team in English and effectively demonstrate your leadership skills with these 14 must-have phrases + 4 key strategies. Get clear example sentences that you can confidently adapt to your needs as a team leader in an English-speaking environment at work.
Use these English idioms to express your feelings. Idioms add creativity and nuance so you can express yourself precisely.
Assimilation in American English is the reason why the sentence “Nice to meet you” sounds like “nice to meetchu.” As part of the Confident English series on how to Understand Fast English Speakers, this pronunciation training lesson will highlight 6 clear examples of assimilation in American English.