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Alternatives to ‘Very’ for More Professional Communication

Choosing the right words is crucial for making a strong impression in business communication. Filler words like "very" often sneak into our speech and writing, subtly diminishing the impact of our messages. Overusing the word "very" dilutes its meaning, making your language repetitive and weakening the words it was meant to strengthen. If you're looking to enrich your vocabulary with "very alternatives" and sound more articulate and professional, this article is for you.

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By eliminating “very” and opting for precise alternatives, you can elevate your business communication and convey your ideas with greater clarity and authority. I have to admit, I use the word “very” frequently, especially as English is my second language. But I’m trying to consciously reduce it by using alternative phrases instead.

In this post, I’ll explore various alternatives to “very” that will help you sound more powerful and professional. Familiarize yourself with these alternatives and use descriptive adjectives to become more creative and compelling in your conversations!

Why Is It Important to Avoid “Very”?

When you rely too much on the word “very,” it can make your speech and writing seem lazy and uninspired. This habit not only weakens your message but also makes you come across as less knowledgeable or less confident in your language skills. For professionals, this can impact how colleagues, clients, and superiors perceive your competence and authority.

Using more precise and vivid language enhances your communication, making your points clearer and more impactful. It shows that you have a strong command of the language and are thoughtful about how you express yourself.

Alternatives to “Very” for a More Professional Vocabulary

Here are some powerful alternatives to “very” that you can incorporate into your speech and writing:

Very Hard → Grueling

Instead of saying something is “very hard,” describe it as grueling, punishing, torturous, or demanding. For example:

  • Original: The hike was very hard.
  • Improved: The hike was grueling.

Very Tired → Drained

If you feel “very tired,” you can say you are drained, exhausted, or fatigued. For example:

  • Original: I felt very tired after the meeting.
  • Improved: I felt drained after the meeting.

Very Thirsty → Parched

When you’re “very thirsty,” use parched. For example:

  • Original: I’m very thirsty after the run.
  • Improved: I’m parched after the run.

Very Happy → Thrilled

Replace “very happy” with thrilled, elated, or overjoyed. For example:

  • Original: She was very happy about the promotion.
  • Improved: She was thrilled about the promotion.

Very Excited → Eager

Instead of saying you are “very excited,” say you are eager, enthusiastic, or keen. For example:

  • Original: I’m very excited to start the project.
  • Improved: I’m eager to start the project.

Very Bad → Horrendous

When something is “very bad,” describe it as horrendous, awful, or atrocious. For example:

  • Original: The service was very bad.
  • Improved: The service was horrendous.

Very Hot → Sweltering

If the weather is “very hot,” use sweltering, scorching, or boiling. For example:

  • Original: It’s very hot outside.
  • Improved: It’s sweltering outside.

Very Cold → Freezing

Replace “very cold” with freezing, frigid, or icy. For example:

  • Original: The room is very cold.
  • Improved: The room is freezing.

Very Nervous → Uneasy

Instead of saying you are “very nervous,” describe yourself as uneasy, anxious, or apprehensive. For example:

  • Original: I’m very nervous about the presentation.
  • Improved: I’m uneasy about the presentation.
Alternatives for Very in a business communication

Examples in Everyday Sentences

To illustrate how these alternatives can be used in context, here are some everyday sentences transformed with more powerful language:

  • Very Big → Massive
    • Original: The house is very big.
    • Improved: The house is massive.
  • Very Old → Ancient
    • Original: This artifact is very old.
    • Improved: This artifact is ancient.
  • Very Pretty → Stunning
    • Original: The dress is very pretty.
    • Improved: The dress is stunning.
  • Very Quick → Rapid
    • Original: The response was very quick.
    • Improved: The response was rapid.
  • Very Rich → Affluent
    • Original: He is very rich.
    • Improved: He is affluent.
  • Very Scared → Petrified
    • Original: She was very scared.
    • Improved: She was petrified.

In the context of an article titled “Alternatives to ‘Very’ for More Professional Communication,” you might find a link to a thesaurus or a writing resource particularly useful. Here’s an example sentence with an outbound link:

For a more extensive list of synonyms to elevate your professional language, consider using resources like the Thesaurus.

Practicing the Change

Changing your language habits takes practice and mindfulness. Here are some tips to help you make the switch:

  1. Awareness: Pay attention to how often you use the word “very” and note the contexts in which you use it.
  2. Preparation: Make a list of your most commonly used phrases with “very” and write down alternatives for each.
  3. Practice: Incorporate these alternatives into your daily conversations and writing.
  4. Feedback: Ask friends or colleagues to point out when you use “very” and suggest alternatives.

Choosing more precise and descriptive language not only improves your communication skills but also enhances your personal and professional image. By avoiding the overuse of “very,” you’ll sound more intelligent, confident, and authoritative. So next time you find yourself about to say “very,” pause and choose a more powerful word instead.

Try using these alternatives to “very” in your next conversation or email. Share your experience in the comments below and let us know which words you found most effective. For more tips on mastering business etiquette and enhancing your personal brand, explore our online courses and digital etiquette eBooks. Sign up for a free consultation to learn how we can help you become the best version of yourself.

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Kristina Szabova is a certified Etiquette Consultant and member of the International Association of Professional Etiquette Consultants.