I’m having an interesting discussion on Twitter (@geezer_chick) about the meaning of the word “very.” I remember about a decade ago learning that the word “very” is actually a minimizer. The sentence “She is tall” is interpreted as taller than “She is very tall.” The same applies to any adjective. I was skeptical when I first learned this, but after many conversations and test situations, I now agree with this counter-intuitive conclusion. While the speaker’s intent when using the word “very” is to make the impression bigger, the opposite occurs in the listener’s mind.
Randy Rambo’s website http://www2.ivcc.edu/rambo/eng1001/eng1001_diction.htm says:
Finally, "very" is a word to avoid. When you use the word "very," you are most likely doing what is described above: trying to change the wrong word into the right one. Why not get rid of "very" and use the right word instead?
For example, "I was very happy" could become "I was overjoyed," and "I was very scared" could become "I was terrified." When you choose the right word, "very" often sounds strange in front of it. For example, you probably would not say, "I was very overjoyed" or "I was very terrified," right? If you have chosen the right word, there is no need to try to turn it into something else with the word "very."
I’ll try to use the right words for today’s assignment.
Today’s assignment is to list parts of my life that I’m happy or contented with, and release on them, because even when we are happy, we are conflicted. Do I have the right to be happy about (fill in your good thing here) when (name your terrible issue here)? And besides (good thing) isn’t perfect. There’s always that missing sock when you’re putting away the laundry.
Things I’m happy with, grateful for (even if they have missing socks):
My marriage. I love being with my alien husband, talking with him, sitting with him, going places with him, watching him eat or even just breathe. He smells right.
My health. Despite all the problems and pain from being hit by a car, I’m heathy. There’s just a big missing sock.
My garden. I’ve learned enough over the years to know how to mulch to minimize weeds and watering. Basically, I plant, visit the plants, and harvest. It’s fun and foody with very little work.
My friends. I can count on them to send me good ideas, run errands and help me when I can’t do things for myself.
My house. It has enough space. It’s insulated. And it doesn’t need any repairs right now.
My computer. It’s up and running and it lets me write with my dvorak keyboard. And it keeps me connected to the world.
That done, the missing socks don’t bother me much on things that are working well. I hope the instructions in this book will bring more areas of my life onto the enjoyment side of the ledger.