Is there a good resource for finding alternatives to using an adjective phrase intensified by the word "very", besides a thesaurus? (E.g., "very afraid" -> "terrified".) Thesauri provide wider-than and narrower-than, but they don't provide more-intense-than. The only thing I've found is 45 ways to avoid using the word 'very'. Is there anything easier, such as a web site to search for more intense synonyms?

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    I think you need a better thesaurus. My thesaurus (Roget's International Thesaurus) provides: very adv. (in a great or high degree) greatly, largely, considerably, exceedingly, tremendously, extravagantly, richly, intensely, acutely, powerfully, absolutely, truly, positively, adj. much, ever so much, ... and many more. – Jim Dec 4 '14 at 4:05
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    Let me clarify. I'm not looking for an alternative to "very", I'm looking for alternative words that express phrases such as "very frustrated", as in the link I provided. – Jim L. Dec 4 '14 at 4:07
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    So why would you title your question Finding Alternatives to the word "very" and then ask "Is there a good resource for finding alternatives to using the word "very" in writing"? When you say, "the only thing I found..." that usually indicates that what you found doesn't quite fit the bill. Not, please use what I found as a model for more of the same. – Jim Dec 4 '14 at 4:10
  • And why wouldn't "exceedingly frustrated", "tremendously frustrated", "intensely frustrated", "acutely frustrated", "positively frustrated" all qualify as different ways of saying "very frustrated"? – Jim Dec 4 '14 at 4:12
  • @Jim: I didn't see a distinction until you pointed it out. I edited the title and question. – Jim L. Dec 4 '14 at 4:56

I think the "word spectrum" shown in the linked answer would fit the bill. Note that in many cases the relative intensity of two words is a matter of opinion; different people seem to have different ideas about the relative meaning of "novice" and "beginner", for example. And even if someone agrees that "terrified" is stronger than "afraid," it doesn't have exactly the same meaning in all other senses.


I agree with one of the commenters that the way you presented your question is misleading.

Anyway: having looked at the link you supplied, which points to a list of alternative adjectives you can use instead of writing very + some adjective, it seems plain to me that the most productive approach is to find an adjective that is close in meaning to the more intense, similar word you hope exists, and base your thesaurus search on that adjective.

When I find the quick-and-dirty online thesauruses lacking, I turn to my printed thesaurus, the excellent Bloomsbury Thesaurus (1997 ed.), which doesn't seem to exist in an online format (or a newer edition), but can still be found for sale second-hand. Its particular virtues are the comprehensiveness of its scope and the extensiveness of its cross-referencing.

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    I've edited the question. – Jim L. Dec 4 '14 at 15:47

I just checked the online thesaurus at http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/afraid .

"Terrified" was listed as one of the synonyms for "afraid".

I don't know what more you could ask for.

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