‘Very’ is not a four-letter word. Stop slandering it.

Merriam-Webster

Writing teachers tell you to avoid “very,” and with good reason: It’s a weak and overused adverb that can you look timid.

But “very” has its place: Only a Scrooge would object to the pleasing assonance of, “Have a very merry Christmas,” or to the title of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And some alternatives are worse. Nothing seems to be “very” easy any more. Everything is “incredibly” or “amazingly” easy.

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Janice Harayda

Janice Harayda

Critic, novelist, award-winning journalist. Former book columnist for Glamour and book editor of The Plain Dealer.