The word "very" is an intensifier used with adjectives to increase their meaning. It’s similar to the word "really."

  • I’m very glad to see you. (I’m really glad to see you.)
  • This pizza is very good.
  • We had a very, very good time at the party.
  • That’s a very, very scary movie.

The word "not" is often used before the word "very" when something is negative:

  • He’s not very good at basketball.
  • That’s not very nice.
  • I’m very unhappy about this. (Or, I’m not very happy…")

Sometimes the word "very" serves as an answer to a yes or no question formed with the verb "be":

  • A: Is she angry?
  • B: Very
  • A: Is it cold outside?
  • B: Yes, very.
  • A: Were those shoes expensive?
  • No, not very.

Do not use the word "very" with a verb. I hear this all the time among my students, but they don’t realize they’re making a mistake. Instead of using "very" to intensify a verb, use the word "really."

  • She really likes her class.  (Not, "She very likes her class.")
  • They really need some warm clothes. (Not, "They very need some warm clothes.")

This video explains some of the differences between "very" and "really":


Click here to learn more vocabulary.


The page was first published on December 30, 2016.