Very

From Teflpedia

Very is an English adverb that acts as an intensifier.[1]

Very is used exclusively attributively and never predicatively. That means it can modify adjectives and other adverbs, but cannot be used to modify verbs.

  • "He is very fast." (modifying an adjective)
  • "He runs very quickly." (modifying an adverb)
  • but *"He very likes golf." (modifying a verb - error)

With verbs, instead of very we need to use really.

Very is often used with much to make the modifier phrase very much.

Chinese-speaking students may often drop the verb be with adjectives and overuse very instead, due to negative transfer as this use follows Chinese usage. Very in Chinese 很 (Pinyin: hěn). Chinese speakers have a strong tendency to avoid monosyllabic terms. In order to satisfy this restriction, 很 is added before monosyllabic adjectives without any actual meaning.[2] is e.g. So instead of saying "He is fat" they may say *"He very fat", literally "他 很 胖" (Pinyin: Tā hěn pàng"), as they also drop copular be.

Particularly in informal speech, very can be used repetitively to add emphasis, e.g. "he is very, very fat" or "he is very, very, very fat".

In formal writing and literary writing registers, use of "very" tends to be considered a stylistic error, with alternative strong adjectives preferred instead, e.g. write "ecstatic" instead of "very happy". In spoken registers however it rarely matters.

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