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There’s a word - a very short one that I dislike more than any other. It’s a very dull word, a very boring and very lazy word. This word is a killjoy, falling very heavily, like a very old, very grey, very damp blanket over our words, smothering the very spark and very life out of them. This word is very irritating and very useless. Why? Because, like my kids as teenagers, it does the very opposite of what it’s supposed to do.
Oh, by the way, if you hadn’t worked it out yet (but of course, you have), the word is ‘very’. What’s so very terrible about this very ordinary word?
I’ll leave it to the American novelist and essayist, Florence King, to explain -
‘Very’ is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous, because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen."
As for Mark Twain, he advised us to -
"Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very'. Your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."
Right on Mark!
And here, just for you, is a list of 45 ways of avoiding that dread word.
Tomorrow’s Advent Calendar copywriting tip?
Putting the 'why' before the 'what'.
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