Meaning of VERY in English

/ ˈveri; NAmE / adverb , adjective

■ adverb ( abbr. v )


used before adjectives, adverbs and determiners to mean 'in a high degree' or 'extremely' :

very small

very quickly

Very few people know that.

Thanks very much.

'Do you like it?' 'Yeah, I do. Very much .'

'Is it what you expected?' 'Oh yes, very much so .'

'Are you busy?' 'Not very.'

The new building has been very much admired.

I'm not very (= not at all) impressed.

I'm very very grateful.


used to emphasize a superlative adjective or before own :

They wanted the very best quality.

Be there by six at the very latest .

At last he had his very own car (= belonging to him and to nobody else) .


the ~ same exactly the same :

Mario said the very same thing.

■ adjective [ only before noun ]


used to emphasize that you are talking about a particular thing or person and not about another

SYN actual :

Those were her very words.

He might be phoning her at this very moment .

That's the very thing I need.


used to emphasize an extreme place or time :

It happens at the very beginning of the book.


used to emphasize a noun

SYN mere :

The very thought of drink made him feel sick.

'I can't do that!' she gasped, appalled at the very idea .


see eye noun



very / very much

Very is used with adjectives, past participles used as adjectives, and adverbs:

I am very hungry.

I was very pleased to get your letter.

You played very well.

But notice this use:

I'm very much afraid that your son may be involved in the crime.

Very is not used with past participles that have a passive meaning. Much , very much or greatly (formal) are usually used instead:

Your help was very much appreciated.

He was much loved by everyone.

She was greatly admired.

Very is used to emphasize superlative adjectives:

my very best work

the very youngest children.

However, with comparative adjectives much , very much , a lot , etc. are used:

Your work is very much better.

much younger children


Very is not used with adjectives and adverbs that already have an extreme meaning. You are more likely to use an adverb such as absolutely , completely , etc.:

She was absolutely furious.

I'm completely exhausted.

You played really brilliantly.

Very is not used with verbs. Use very much instead:

We enjoyed staying with you very much.



Middle English (as an adjective in the sense real, genuine ): from Old French verai , based on Latin verus true.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.