The Worst Word in the English Language

Words… We live and work and have fun with words. In school, they taught me the worst word in the English language. You’ll never guess what it is… It’s very. Yep, that’s it. Why worst? It has absolutely no power or meaning.

Let’s say you are writing about a man who is tired. You can say, “Tim was very tired.” But a better description might be, “Tim was so tired that his arms fell off and his tongue dragged on the ground.” Now that’s tired. So please, drop the word very when you write and speak.

A Pair of Words Creates A Mass of Confusion

Let’s look at the words farther and further. No difference? Oh yes, Boobie, there is. Farther has to do with measurement, as in inches, feet, yards and miles. “He was a mile farther along the road than he figured he would be.” Got it?

So what is left for the other word, further? Further has to do with non-physical things, like thoughts, attitudes, abilities, motives and such. “His attitude was further from the norm than we thought.” Or: “His abilities were further from perfection than he knew.”

Not too hard to remember. Anything with a measurement should be farther. Think  of going “far” away. If you’re dealing with non-physical distance, make it further. Any questions? Don’t ask.

Chet Cunningham is a San Diego writer who has had 320 books published in hard back, paper back, audio books, large print and ebooks. His latest is Scream Headless Corpse—an audio download from Amazon.

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About Tim Kane

Tim Kane is a young adult fiction writer.
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2 Responses to The Worst Word in the English Language

  1. Tony Acree says:

    “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” Mark Twain

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