Still Saying "Very"? Use These Adjectives Instead

There's an easy way to improve your English vocabulary: avoid the word "very." Instead, use stronger adjectives. Today, we'll show you how to do this using seven common adjectives.

1. Happy

When you want to say "very happy," you can instead say "overjoyed" (which means "filled with joy") or "ecstatic" (which means "very happy and excited").

  • He was very happy overjoyed when he found out he was having a baby girl.
  • I'm very happy ecstatic about starting my new job.

Here's a paragraph from a news report that uses this word. A mother is very happy about her daughter climbing to the top of a tall rock called "El Capitan."

Selah's mother, Joy Schneiter, said she was worried that her daughter would get too tired to make it to the top. "But by day four I knew they would finish. I'm just really proud and ecstatic," she said.

"10-Year-Old May Be Youngest to Climb El Capitan" | Engoo Daily News

2. Sad

When you want to say "very sad," you can say "depressed" (which means "very unhappy"), "heartbroken" (which means "filled with sadness"), or "devastated" ("very sad and shocked") instead.

  • She became very sad depressed after losing her job.
  • We were very sad devastated when we heard that our friend had been swept away by the floods.
  • He was very sad heartbroken when his wife left him.

In the paragraph below, the owner of the oldest pub in England uses the word "heartbroken" to describe how he feels when he needs to shut down the pub.

"I am heartbroken," he wrote. "This pub has been so much more than just a business to me, and I feel honored to have played even a small part in its history."

"Britain's Oldest Pub Closes After More than 1,000 Years" | Engoo Daily News

3. Angry

Another way to say "very angry" is "furious."

  • We were very angry furious when we realized he had been lying to us the whole time.
  • My mom was very angry furious at me for skipping school.

Here's a paragraph from a news report which uses this word. In 2016, a gorilla called "Harambe" was shot and killed at an American zoo, and a lot of people were very angry about it.

Critics are furious about the killing of Harambe. 

"Killing of Gorilla at US Zoo Causes Uproar" | Engoo Daily News

4. Tired

Instead of saying "very tired," you can say "exhausted." This means "out of energy."

  • The whole team felt very tired exhausted after the tournament.
  • I'm recovering from the flu and still feel very tired exhausted.

Here is a paragraph that uses "exhausted" instead of "very tired" to talk about burnout.

If you feel exhausted all the time, are less interested in things or people you care about, and you're finding it harder and harder to do your job, then you might be burned out.

"How to Recover from Burnout" | Engoo Daily News

5. Cold

Another way to say "very cold" is "freezing." This means that something is so cold that it seems to be "freezing" ("turning into ice").

  • It's very cold freezing in here. Can we close the window?
  • It's very cold freezing outside. Make sure to put on a coat.

Here is a paragraph from a news report on people in Russia who swim in very cold water.

Ice swimmers in Russia call themselves "walruses." They cut holes through the ice to swim in the freezing water of rivers or lakes.

"Young Russians Become Ice Swimming 'Walruses'" | Engoo Daily News

6. Small

Instead of saying "very small," you can say "tiny."

  • Malta is a very small tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea.
  • I live in a very small tiny apartment.

Here is a paragraph from a news report that describes microplastics (very small pieces of plastic) with the word "tiny."

Microplastics have been found in human blood for the first time, causing scientists to worry that the tiny plastic particles could travel around the body and damage organs.

"Microplastics Found in Human Blood for the First Time" | Engoo Daily News

7. Big

When you want to say "very big," you can say "huge."

  • India is a very big huge country. If I travel there, I'd want to stay for at least a month.
  • The couple spent a very big huge amount of money on their wedding.

Here is a paragraph from a news article that talks about a very big kite that could help make ships more eco-friendly.

A company in France has found a new way to help ships cross the ocean while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions: a huge kite.

"This Huge Kite Pulls Ships Across the Ocean" | Engoo Daily News

Your turn!

The best way to learn vocabulary is to use it. For example, try applying the vocabulary words we introduced today to your life.

  • Do you feel "exhausted" from your job?
  • Do you live in a city with a "huge" population?
  • When was the last time you were "furious" or "overjoyed" about something?

Write some sentences that use these words. Then check with a tutor to make sure you're using them properly. At Engoo, we have thousands of professional English tutors available 24/7 to help you learn vocabulary, review grammar, and become fluent. Learn more about us here.