Replace the word ‘very’ in your writing

Image with a blank notebook, a pencil and the word 'very' written in bright red.

Writers know more than enough words to tell a story, but sometimes you want to emphasize a word, and the only way you can think of doing it, is to use the word ‘very’. Avoiding the use of ‘very’ can make your writing even stronger.

Below is a list of words you can use to replace ‘very’ in your text.

As always, consult your dictionary if you are not sure about the proper meaning of the word and whether it will fit your text.

Avoid ‘very…’Rather say
accurateprecise, exact, unimpeachable, perfect, flawless
afraidterrified, fearful, alarmed
aggresiveforceful, overconfident, insistent, hardline
amazedastounded, flabbergasted, astonished, shocked
angryfurious, irate, enraged, incensed, fuming, livid
annoyingexasperating, frustrating, irritating,
anxiousfurious, irate, enraged, incensed, fuming, livid
awareconscious, savvy, apprised, mindful, cognizant
badawful, deplorable, appalling, rotten, miserable, atrocious
basicrudimentary, primary, fundamental, simple
beautifulexquisite, gorgeous, stunning, magnificent
bigimmense, massive, bulky
bloodygory, brutal, barbarous, savage, murderous
bonyskeletal, angular, spindly, gaunt, emaciated
boringdull, tedious, dreary, uninteresting, mind-numbing
brightdazzling, luminous, briljant, radiant, blinding, intense
busyswamped, active, bustling, engaged
calmserene, hushed, peaceful, tranquil
capableaccomplished, efficient, competent, adept, proficient, skillful
carefulcautious, meticulous, fastidious, precise, scrupulous
caringcompassionate, kind, attentive, sympathetic
cheapstingy, affordable,
civilpolite, courteous, respectful, cultured, mannerly
cleanspotless, immaculate, stainless, shining, hygienic
clearobvious, transparent, sheer, translucent, glassy, crystal
cleverastute, brilliant, shrewd, ingenious, crafty, sharp
coldfreezing, frigid, bitter, icy, glacialm frosty, polar
colorfulvibrant, kaleidoscopic, variegated, vivid
competitivecutthroat, ambitious, driven, bloodthirsty
completecomprehensive, entire, integral, whole
concernedworried, troubled, upset, distressed, agitated
confidentpoised, cool, self-assured, self-reliant, secure
confusedperplexed, baffled, befuddled, mystified, clueless, dazed
consciousdeliberate, intentional, premeditated, willful
consistentconstant, unfailing, uniform, harmonious, same
contrarybelligerent, argumentative, confrontational
conventionalconservative, common, predictable, unoriginal
corruptfraudulent, crooked, unethical, dishonest, rotten
creamyvelvety, buttery, rich, smooth, milky, greasy
creativeinnovative, imaginative, ingenious, inventive
creepyunnerving, skin-crawling, spooky, sinister, weird
criticalvital, crucial, essential, indispensable, integral
crowdedbustling, brimming, jammed, loaded, stuffed
crunchycrispy, brittle, crackling, gravelly, crusty, gritty
curiousinquisitive, nosy, prying, snoopy, quizzical
cuteadorable, endearing, delightful, pretty, charming
dangerousperilous, precarious, unsafe, treacherous, dicey
darkblack, inky, ebony, sooty, lightless, starless, unlit
dearcherished, precious, priceless
decentcivilized, upright, courteous, respectable, noble
deepabysmal, bottomless, cavernous, yawning, vast, profound
deformedtwisted, contorted, misshapen, mutilated
delicatesubtle, slight, fragile, frail, flimsy, insubstantial
depresseddespondent, downhearted, gloomy, miserable, wretched
desperatefrantic, fraught, grave, serious, hopeless, dire
detailedmeticulous, thorough, minute
determinedresolute, adamant, obstinate, tenacious, dogged
differentunusual, distinctive, atypical, dissimilar, unlike, disparate
difficultcomplicated, complex, demanding, arduous
dirtyfilthy, foul, grimy, polluted, squalid, dilapidated
disagreeablecontrary, obnoxious, offensive, repugnant, rude
dismalmiserable, cheerless, depressing, morbid
distinctclear, definite, patent, evident, apparent
dramatictheatrical, histrionic, melodramatic, vivid
dryarid, parched, sere, dehydrated, withered
dubioussuspicious, skeptical, cynical, unconvinced
dulltedious, arid, boring, ponderous, wearisome
eagerimpatient, ardent, fervent, keen, earnest
easyeffortless, uncomplicated, unchallenging, simple
educationalenlightening, edifying, informative, revealing
efficientcompetent, proficient, resourceful, able
embarrassedmortified, humiliated, discomfited, ashamed
emotionaldemonstrative, sensitive, temperamental
emptydesolate, devoid, barren, impassive, numb
enthusiasticzealous, eager, fervent, vehement, ebullient
excitedthrilled, frenzied, hyperactive, enthused
excitingexhilarating, electrifying, thrilling, breathtaking
expensivecostly, exorbitant, overpriced, extravagant
fairequitable, impartial, neutral, nonpartisan
faithfulloyal, devoted, staunch, unwavering, stalwart
familiarcommon, established, typical, traditional
famousrenowned, eminent, legendary, celebrated
fancylavish, excessive, sophisticated, complex
fardistant, remote, isolated, secluded, extrasolar
fastrapid, swift, fleet, blistering, supersonic
fatobese, corpulent, rotund, blubbery, round
fertileprolific, productive, fruitful, rich, lush, fecund
fewmeager, scarce, scant, limited, negligible
fiercevicious, ferocious, savage, keen, intense, feral
firmsolid, hard, rigid, set, frozen, unyielding
fizzyeffervescent, frothy, foamy, sudsy
fluffydowny, fuzzy, fleecy, feathery, cottony
fonddevoted, attentive, enamored, doting
fragiletenuous, unstable, precarious, frail, delicate
friendlygregarious, outgoing, chummy, demonstrative, amiable
frightenedalarmed, horrified, shocked, spooked,
frighteningterrifying, alarming, horrendous, intimidating
frustratingexasperating, infuriating, disheartening, vexing
fulloverflowing, bursting, crammed, packed, sated
funnyhilarious, hysterical, sidesplitting, rollicking
gladoverjoyed, delighted, pleased, tickled, satisfied
goodsuperb, superior, excellent, outstanding
gracefulflowing, supple, lithe, willowy, lissome
greatterrific, sublime, awesome, expert, masterly
greedygluttonous, avaricious, materialistic, insatiable
hairyhirsute, shaggy, furry, bushy, unshaven
happyecstatic, overjoyed, euphoric, blissful, elated, jubilant
hardinflexible, stony, steely, unyielding, tough, rigid, difficult
healthyhale, hardy, flourishing, fit, robust, vigorous
heavyleaden, ponderous, weighty, dense, hefty
helpfulsupportive, obliging, accommodating, invaluable
highsoaring, elevated, increased, advanced, progressive
honestcandid, sincere, authentic, forthright, frank
hotburning, scalding, blistering, scorching, searing, sweltering
hugecolossal, astronomical, humongous, massive, monumental, tremendous
hungrystarving, famished, ravenous, hollow, voracious
hurtbattered, distressed, tormented, tortured, damaged
illinfirm, bedridden, frail, terminal, incurable
immaturechildish, infantile, naive, jejune, callow, green
immoraldepraved, decadent, debauched, iniquitous
importantcrucial, vital, essential, paramount, imperative
impressiveextraordinary, remarkable, awe-inspiring
inebriatedintoxicated, drunk, soused, smashed, plastered
informalcasual, unceremonious, easygoing, simple
intelligentbrainy, clever, bright, gifted, intellectual, astute, brilliant
intensesevere, extreme, fierce, overpowering, acute
interestingfascinating, remarkable, riveting, compelling, captivating
jealousenvious, resentful, grudging, green, bitter
juicysucculent, moist, ripe, luscious, fleshy, syrupy
largehuge, humongous, mammoth, gargantuan, colossal
lavishexcessive, opulent, posh, luxurious, sumptuous
lazyindolent, slothful, negligent, idle
lightbuoyant, insubstantial, weightless, airy, ethereal
likelyexpected, imminent, probable, unavoidable
littletiny, slight, petty, brief, short
livelyenergetic, vivacious, exuberant, spirited
logicalrational, cogent, credible, consistent, sound
lonelyisolated, deserted, forlorn, solitary, abandoned
longextended, extensive, interminable, protracted
long-termenduring, extended, lengthy
looseslack, insecure, unsecured, relaxed
louddeafening, thunderous, booming, blaring
lovedadored, precious, cherished, revered, beloved
luckycharmed, blessed, favored, fortunate, fluky
meancruel, brutal, average, intermediate
messyslovenly, sloppy, cluttered, jumbled, unkempt
moodymorose, temperamental, unstable, changeable
muchplenty, oceans, heaps, scads, oodles, loads
much soof course, okay, yes, absolutely, precisely
musicalmelodic, melodious, harmonious, dulcet
nearhandy, close-by, alongside, convenient, nearby
neatorderly, tidy, uncluttered, immaculate, spotless
necesssaryessential, compulsory, mandatory, certain, inescapable
negativepessimistic, defeatist, cynical, critical, fatalistic
nervousapprehensive, edgy, insecure, troubled, worried
newnovel, innovative, fresh, original, cutting-edge
niceenjoyable, pleasant, agreeable, satisfying
noisydeafening, rackety, showy, resounding
numerousabundant, copious, myriad, profuse
obviousapparent, clear, evident, plain, visible
occasionallyseldom, rarely, infrequently, sporadically
oftenfrequently, continually, oftentimes, repeatedly
oldgrizzled, aged, hoary, ancient, grey, decrepit
old-fashionedarchaic, antique, quaint, vintage
opentransparent, unobstructed, public, exposed, direct
opinionateddogmatic, cocksure, biased, partisan
optimisticenthusiastic, buoyant, encouraged, positive
painfulexcruciating, agonizing, searing, unbearable
palewhite, pallid, ashen, sallow, colorless, pasty
perfectflawless, absolute, immaculate, unblemished
persuasiveconvincing, believable, compelling, charming
pleasantsatisfying, fulfilling, rewarding, gratifying
poordestitute, indigent, penniless, impoverished
populartrendy, fashionable, admired, prevalent
positiveoptimistic, upbeat, affirmative, constructive
powerfulcompelling, influential, potent, significant
practicalrealistic, sensible, functional, doable, viable
presentableshipshape, well-groomed, tidy, personable
prettybeautiful, enjoyable, becoming, attractive, handsome
pureunadulterated, wholesome, pristine, clean
quickrapid, swift, exceptional, brilliant, intelligent
quietnoiseless, silent, still, hushed, soundless
rainypouring, stormy
rarescarce, sparse, unique, exceptional, peerless
realisticgenuine, credible, authentic, rational, true
reasonableequitable, judicious, sensible, practical, fair
recentthe latest, current, fresh, up-to-date
relevantgermane, pertinent, appropriate, significant
religiousspiritual, devout, pious, fervent, dedicated
responsibledependable, conscientious, reliable, steadfast
richwealthy, affluent, opulent, loaded
riskyperilous, hazardous, treacherous, precarious
roomyspacious, expansive, vast, palatial, commodious
roughcoarse, jagged, rugged, craggy, gritty, broken
rowdyboisterous, disorderly, raucous, unruly, wild
rudevulgar, insolent, offensive, derogatory, boorish
saddesolate, disconsolate, wretched, dejected
safeharmless, benign, secure, protected, sheltered
sameidentical, matching, indistinguishable, exact
sassyimpertinent, cheeky, insolent, disrespectful
scaredterrified, petrified, terror-stricken, panicked
scarychilling, dreadful, fearsome, intimidating
serioussolemn, somber, stern, dour, melancholy, grim, grave
severeacute, grave, critical, serious, brutal, relentless
sexyseductive, steamy, provocative, erotic, sensual
shakytremulous, quaking, vibrating, unsteady
sharpkeen, perceptive, sensitive
shinygleaming, dazzling, radiant, splendid
shortstubby, squat, dwarf, diminutive, petite
shytimid, backward, introverted, withdrawn
significantkey, noteworthy, momentous, major, vital
silkysleek, smooth, satiny, glossy, lustrous, shiny
similaralike, akin, analogous, comparable, equivalent
simpleeasy, straightforward, effortless, uncomplicated, basic
skinnyskeletal, bony, slender
slowsluggish, sedate, plodding, creeping, snail-like
smalltiny, miniscule, infinitesimal, microscopic, wee, petite
smoothflat, glassy, polished, level, even, unblemished, sleek
softmalleable, yielding, spongy, muted, doughy, downy
sorryremorseful, repentant, penitent, contrite, apologetic
souracerbic, tart, vinegary, biting, harsh, caustic
specialexceptional, cherished, beloved
specificprecise, exact, explicit, definite, unambiguous
stinkyputrid, fetid, rank, rancid, putrescent, noxious
strangeweird, eerie, bizarre, uncanny, peculiar, odd
strictstern, austere, severe, rigorous, harsh, rigid
strongmuscular, brawny, rugged, powerful, tough, unyielding, forceful
stupididiotic, dense, vacuous, ridiculous, inane
substantialconsiderable, significant, extensive, ample
successfullucrative, productive, thriving, prosperous
suddenunexpected, abrupt, precipitous, unforeseen
suitableappropriate, fitting, seemly, proper, correct
surepositive, persuaded, certain, convinced, absolute
suspiciousskeptical, distrustful, wary, guarded, leery
sweetsyrupy, sugary, honeyed, cloying, candied
tactiletouchable, palpable, physical, perceptible
talltowering, lofty, multistory, soaring, statuesque
tamedocile, submissive, meek, compliant, subdued
tastydelectable, mouthwatering, scrumptious, divine, delicious
temptingirresistible, enticing, tantalizing, alluring
tenseoverwrought, rigid, taut, strained, agitated
terribledreadful, horrendous, horrific, shocking
thingaunt, scrawny, emaciated, haggard, skeletal
tightconstricting, impenetrable, compact, rigid
tinyminuscule, miniature, microscopic
tiredexhausted, spent, frazzled, bushed, drained
traditionalconventional, established, customary, habitual
treacheroustraitorous, disloyal, unfaithful, perfidious
uglyhideous, revolting, repugnant, grotesque
unfairunjust, bigoted, prejudiced, inequitable
unhappymiserable, heartbroken, wretched, downhearted
unlikelyimprobable, implausible, doubtful, dubious
unusualabnormal, extraordinary, uncommon, unique
upsetdistraught, anxious, jumpy, troubled
usefulexpedient, effective, nifty, handy, valuable
valuableprecious, priceless, treasured, inestimable
violentabusive, savage, barbarous, cutthroat, cruel
visibleconspicuous, exposed, obvious, prominent
warmstifling, hot, sultry, sweltering, oppressive
waryskeptical, suspicious, leery, vigilant, distrustful
weakfeeble, frail, delicate, debilitated, fragile, sickly
wellsuperb, fine, fabulous, all right, okay, good
wetsaturated, soaked, waterlogged, sopping
wickedevil, sinful, villainous, nefarious, fiendish
widevast, expansive, sweeping, boundless, distended
widespreadextensive, pervasive, prevalent, rampant
wilduntamed, feral, unmanageable, uncontrollable
willingeager, amenable, prompt, unforced
windyroaring, blustery, turbulent, howling, wild
wisesagacious, sage, astute, enlightened, shrewd
worrieddistressed, distraught, overwrought, upset, anxious
youngundeveloped, fledgling, immature, budding
zealousdriven, ambitious, motivated, passionate

Image from The Writing Piazza

2 thoughts on “Replace the word ‘very’ in your writing

  1. I love this list and know I will come back to it – after all why say “very xxx” with two words when you can do it with one. Brilliant. I know I use “very” to often so each time I write it I am going to check out this post…

  2. I feel like this may have been written for me, lol. I am very bad (terrible, see I can learn) for using very!

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