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Old 07-17-2018, 05:29 AM   #1
lovecraft68
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This could be 'very' useful to you

A lot of us have issues with different words/words choices as in we find ourselves using them more often than we should.

For me its always been very. I write it on the fly then when I edit get annoyed and fix it and occasionally it takes a couple minutes to come up with a better words

Someone passed this list on to me and its been a big help, figured I'd pay it forward.

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Old 07-17-2018, 08:12 AM   #2
electricblue66
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Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
A lot of us have issues with different words/words choices as in we find ourselves using them more often than we should.

For me its always been very. I write it on the fly then when I edit get annoyed and fix it and occasionally it takes a couple minutes to come up with a better words

Someone passed this list on to me and its been a big help, figured I'd pay it forward.

Even easier - just drop " very" from the left-hand column and use the plain English word that's left.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:15 AM   #3
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Not to be contentious, but the words in the right column don't have quite the same meaning as those in the left minus the "very". It's a useful tool for those of us with hangups on certain words.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:19 AM   #4
TarnishedPenny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandTeton View Post
Not to be contentious, but the words in the right column don't have quite the same meaning as those in the left minus the "very". It's a useful tool for those of us with hangups on certain words.
Naw, I think it's a very good list!

Thanks to lovecraft.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:15 AM   #5
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This list is so very!
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:34 AM   #6
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Veritably!

I use Roget's Thesaurus.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:21 PM   #7
TANSTAAFL58
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Originally Posted by lovecraft68 View Post
A lot of us have issues with different words/words choices as in we find ourselves using them more often than we should.

For me its always been very. I write it on the fly then when I edit get annoyed and fix it and occasionally it takes a couple minutes to come up with a better words

Someone passed this list on to me and its been a big help, figured I'd pay it forward.


If you doubt the words on the right, try saying a few out loud.

"Excruciating"

"Compelling"

"Petrified"

"Pouring"

"Ashen"

And especially "Gleaming"

"It was excruciating watching her gleaming thghs rub together as she crossed and uncrossed her ankles under the opressive July sun"

"Oppressive" is my contribution.

And, yes my Roget's is a paperback copy I got in middle School in 1969 or 70. It shows it's age. While it may be a bit archaic to use a book when Mr Gates has programmed a more complete Thesaurus into Word, I find the pages, um, er, oh yes, compelling.

(PS: And I never autocorrect "Roget's" to "Roger's". My buddy Roger is a great Mechanic, but he is frequently at a loss for, sans, bereft, without words )
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electricblue66 View Post
Even easier - just drop " very" from the left-hand column and use the plain English word that's left.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandTeton View Post
Not to be contentious, but the words in the right column don't have quite the same meaning as those in the left minus the "very". It's a useful tool for those of us with hangups on certain words.
Lovecrafts list is very useful. It helps a person to look at words differently. Whether the meaning is the same or not, it's about getting the scene across, whether it's simply stated or more complex.

So instead of saying 'very noisy' you say deafening and then one day you don't want to use deafing and you wonder what could be said and how could you say it?

So this:
The train passing above was very noisy.

Becomes:
The train passing above was deafening.

And then you end up with:

Sparks flew as metal grated against metal. The electrified flames tumbled through the air, their frenzied dance upon the cobbles silenced by the rumble of the transport easing to a halt. I had to clear my head before I could understand the world again.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:44 PM   #9
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The list is great. Very is dangerous. There’s always an opportunity to edit and those out add something more succinct and stronger. But then if it makes you string words together like this....Magic.

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And then you end up with:

Sparks flew as metal grated against metal. The electrified flames tumbled through the air, their frenzied dance upon the cobbles silenced by the rumble of the transport easing to a halt. I had to clear my head before I could understand the world again.
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Old 07-17-2018, 09:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by KindofHere View Post
And then you end up with:

Sparks flew as metal grated against metal. The electrified flames tumbled through the air, their frenzied dance upon the cobbles silenced by the rumble of the transport easing to a halt. I had to clear my head before I could understand the world again.
I don't think you need to worry too much about overusing 'very.'

'Very' isn't really a dangerous word. It's a cheap word that gets the job done. Sorta.

Edit: I just searched my current story for 'very'. It comes up in other words like "every," and once or twice in dialogue. This is a 30K word story. The one use of 'very' that got my attention was in a translation of a few sentences from the beginning of a story by Alexander Dumas.

I wonder. If he had translated that himself, would he have used 'very'?
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:22 PM   #11
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”When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them--then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are far apart.”
—Mark Twain
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandTeton View Post
Not to be contentious, but the words in the right column don't have quite the same meaning as those in the left minus the "very". It's a useful tool for those of us with hangups on certain words.
I agree that some of replacements change the meaning. For instance, "very noisy" doesn't necessarily go all the way to "deafening." Some of them are fine enough. Some, like the original "very perfect" are just wrong. There are no relative degrees of "perfect." And in that case, "perfect" might be a better fit in some contexts than "flawless." There also are contexts where the "very" qualifier is just fine.

The bottom line is that the list is probably useful (maybe even very useful ) to those who know what they're doing to begin with in word usage.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Oblimo View Post
”When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them--then the rest will be valuable. They weaken when they are close together. They give strength when they are far apart.”
—Mark Twain
Umm, sometimes yes, sometimes no. This is one of those "I'm a professional writer and need a catchy writing tip to attach to my name" quotes that fits in the "don't try this at home" category for many developing writers. It's also one of those quotes that begs you to go see if the author actually did that in his/her writing themselves.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:14 AM   #14
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Umm, sometimes yes, sometimes no. This is one of those "I'm a professional writer and need a catchy writing tip to attach to my name" quotes that fits in the "don't try this at home" category for many developing writers. It's also one of those quotes that begs you to go see if the author actually did that in his/her writing themselves.
Twain is usually light on the adjectives, but this passage from "Connecticut Yankee" is interesting in the light of that advice:

"As a rule, the speech and behavior of these people were gracious and courtly; and I noticed that they were good and serious listeners when anybody was telling anything—I mean in a dog-fightless interval. And plainly, too, they were a childlike and innocent lot; telling lies of the stateliest pattern with a most gentle and winning naivety, and ready and willing to listen to anybody else’s lie, and believe it, too. It was hard to associate them with anything cruel or dreadful; and yet they dealt in tales of blood and suffering with a guileless relish that made me almost forget to shudder."

I could be mistaken, but I suspect Twain is deliberately violating his usual rule here to create a specific effect.

His adjectives evoke the idealised version of Camelot, but they're contradicted by the rest of his prose: these are "gracious", "childlike", "gentle", "stately", "guileless" people, who lie and who delight in tales of brutality, and their "good and serious" listening only lasts until the next dog-fight.

The quoted advice on adjectives warns that they weaken when close together. In this paragraph Twain brings them together in pairs: "good and serious", "gracious and courtly", "childlike and innocent". By my reading, Twain is setting up his adjectives to fail, as a way of undermining the heroic view of Camelot. It'd be consistent with the general attitude of the book.

If so, it shows that Twain understood the need to make exceptions to that rule.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:16 AM   #15
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Thankee! I hope I am not a culprit! Now I have to go back and reread stuff.
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:40 AM   #16
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If so, it shows that Twain understood the need to make exceptions to that rule.
I think other people's rules are good to follow if you agree with them.

Take for instance that adverb rule. Before I read that, I NEVER noticed adverbs in a story I was enjoying. Now, if they start sticking out at me as I read, I think, "Oh, Stephen King, you motherfucker, your opinions are killing my flow."

Haha. I'm sure Twain's writing would have been great even if he used them liberally, but he didn't, so we'll never know. (Although I only read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.)
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Old 07-18-2018, 03:48 AM   #17
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I think I'm prone to using three adjectives--triangulating the image.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:15 AM   #18
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I think I'm prone to using three adjectives--triangulating the image.
That made me laugh.
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