Many Alternative Ways to Saying VERY

VERY is a good English word that’s why we use it a lot.  But when you use the same word over and over again, it becomes boring and you sound monotonous. MONO means “one”, TONOUS means “tone”. So if it’s only one tone all throughout, people lose interest in listening to you.

Native speakers use a variety of terms to describe something or someone. So, today this is a vocabulary lesson where we will see that other than using VERY to describe the degree of something, we actually have several choices of words that will make us become a more effective speaker. Using these words in our writing will also make our work stand out and catch more attention.

Basic usages of VERY

So first, let’s understand what is VERY. It is an adverb of degree that tells us about the intensity of something. This is usually placed before the adjective, verb, or another adverb. Other examples of adverb of degree are enough, too, more and extremely.

 

You can see or hear these words frequently used this way:

I have enough water.

There’s not enough light in here.

My father works too hard.

Ben’s wife is too young.

The tests are getting extremely difficult.

This bag is extremely heavy!

The other garden is more beautiful than this one.

People in rural areas are more welcoming than people in big cities.

The horse is running very fast.

The old man walked very slowly.

Avoid using VERY too many times

As you can see, the underlined words modify or show us the intensity of the words (adjectives and adverbs) that come after them. So, VERY is one of the most common ones that we hear every day. For example in this very short composition, it is being used a lot.

“Hi! I’m Laura. My family is not very rich, but we are not very poor either. We don’t live in a very big house. But my parents, my brother and I enjoy a very peaceful and happy life. My parents work diligently and honestly. They face very hard problems every now and then, but I do my best in school to make them feel proud. My brother and I are careful about keeping our rooms and clothes very clean so that our parents don’t get a headache from the mess. They are very kind parents and that is why we always do our best to help them in our own small ways.”

Let’s try this again by using new vocabulary other than VERY + Adjective.

“Hi! I’m Laura. My family is not wealthy, but we are not destitute either. We don’t live in a humongous house. But my parents, my brother and I enjoy a tranquil and happy life. My parents work diligently and honestly. They face difficult problems every now and then, but I do my best in school to make them feel proud. My brother and I are careful about keeping our rooms and clothes spotless so that our parents don’t get a headache from the mess. They are good-hearted parents and that is why we always do our best to help them in our own small ways.”

You don’t want to say VERY too many times or else you’d sound monotonous, just like in the first composition above. Comparing the two, the second one is more interesting to read. And this would also show your level of fluency because the more vocabulary you use to express your thoughts, the more fluent you are in a language. 

Alternative ways to say VERY

Let’s look at these common collocations for the word VERY.

*Very hot = scalding or scorching. These two are similar and talk about something that’s hot, but they are not the same. Scalding is for liquid, while scorching is for temperature like the heat during summer.

I love summertime but sometimes I don’t want to get out in the scorching sun.

You may want to bring a bottle of cold water. It’s scorching outside.

You don’t want to dip your hand in the pot, it’s scalding. You’d burn yourself.

The tea is scalding! I burned my tongue.

*Very cold = freezing

It’s freezing outside! You better wear thick socks.

*Very boring = dull

The theatrical play we watched last night was dull.

*Very good = superb. The phrase “very good” is actually quite overused. Here are examples:

The movie was very good.

It was a very good dinner.

Our trip to Turkey this year was very good.

The service in that restaurant is very good.

The wine they serve is very good.

And on and on we go. But to show class and some variety, we can use SUPERB or even EXCELLENT! See how these sentences look better?

The food is superb!

The wine they serve is excellent.

Your sister looks superb.

*Very hungry = famished or ravenous

We hiked all day. I’m famished!

I’m ravenous about reading.

*Very slow = sluggish

I am sluggish when I wake up in the morning. I need coffee to make me fully awake.

The project took longer to finish because the workers are sluggish.

*Very fast = rapid or rapidly (adverb)

Busy people walk at a rapid pace.

People from New York speak rapidly compared to people from Texas.

*Very tired = exhausted

I’m exhausted! I’m just about ready to crash.

*Very poor = destitute. Destitute means poor as poor can get. When someone destitute, he is so poor he has barely anything to eat or wear.

I’m looking for a job. I’m destitute.

Churches and charities organize programs to offer help to the destitute.

*Very rich = wealthy. Rich is fine but wealthy is even better. Wealthy is several notches higher than being rich. Take a look at the difference here:

I want to learn English so I get a promotion at work. I want to earn more and be rich!

But wealthy is different.

I want to learn English and partner with many businessmen from different countries around the world. I want to become a wealthy man!

*Very rude. You can instead say “vulgar”. Vulgar means not right or inappropriate.

Kids today seem to be more aggressive and vulgar compared to kids in their grandparents’ time.

*Very short. Use “brief” instead.

The professor gave a brief lecture on the life cycle of elephants.

 

Here are other examples of collocations for VERY and the alternative words you can use:

1. Very big = humongous

2. Very important = crucial / essential

3. Very busy= swamped

4. Very smart = intelligent

5. Very peaceful = tranquil

6. Very colorful = vibrant

7. Very skillful = seasoned / veteran

8. Very hard = challenging / difficult

9. Very kind = tender-hearted / good-hearted

10. Very sad = depressed / sorrowful

11. Very bad = awful

12. Very worried = anxious

13. Very confused = perplexed

14. Very dirty = squalid

15. Very clean = spotless

If you can throw in these words to your speech, you’d sound quite eloquent and interesting to hear. People will like listening to you more. Your work in writing will be guaranteed top notch as well! It’s always rewarding to expand your English vocabulary.


Author
I have a passion for the English language because it is such a powerful tool for creativity and personal development. I've been writing articles since I was in High School. I represented my school in English writing competitions in the city, regional, and national levels. When I was in college, I wrote a short story which was published in the University Literary Portfolio. In 2006, I worked as a call center agent in Cebu City. In 2007 up to 2008, I worked as an English accent trainer in a startup call center company. I have also been offering ESL lessons as a freelance tutor since February 2016.