Author, Editor, Publisher, Coach

A Supreme Lazy Word: “Very”

I recently discussed the problem of lazy/weak/overused words with a couple of my editing clients.  One that has always threatened to make my head pop like a thirteen-year-old’s week-old zit is the useless “very.”

Not 48 hours after that last discussion, I came across this tidbit in the May 2011 issue of The Writer, in an article by Erika Dreifus entitled “2 Takes on the Power of a Single Word”:

…novelist Brock Clarke’s entry on “very”:

“Is there a weaker, sadder, more futile

word in the English language than very?

Is there another word as fully guaranteed

to prove the opposite of what its speaker

or writer intends to prove?  Is there

another word that so clearly states, on

the speaker’s or writer’s behalf, ‘I’m not

even going to try to find the right word,’ or

‘No matter how hard I try, I’m not going to

find the right word’?  Is there a less

specific, less helpful, less necessary, less

potent word in our vocabulary?”  Already,

before completing a full page, Clarke has

convinced us: “There is not.”

Can I have an “Amen!”

‘Til next time, and as always, remember: To write well, you must work hard.  To succeed in this tough gig, you mustn’t be lazy (or discouraged).


1 Comment

  1. Affiliate Dot Com 2.… Thanks for that awesome posting. It saved MUCH time 🙂

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