Assuming it is possible for "very" to occur naturally as a standalone answer, for example in

'Was the movie good?'

'Yes, very [good].'

could it also be used to provide an answer to a question such as

'Do you like ice-cream?'

'Yes, very [much].'

i.e. in pretty much the same way that "absolutely" or "totally" could be used to answer it?

I am asking because I remember I heard it on a series I was watching, but when one of my students asked her aunt's Irish friend she said this could never be the case. FYI I am a speaker of American English, so it instictively sounds natural to me for the sake of elliptical speech, though it may not be 100% grammatically correct. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • 4
    Very can be used in answer as a sentence substitute, but only when an adjective or adverb was in the question. Is he tall? Very. Does he drive fast? Very. Do you like ice-cream? Very much [so]. Apr 30, 2015 at 21:24
  • 2
    Or "How concerned are you about global climate change?" "Very."
    – Sven Yargs
    Apr 30, 2015 at 22:27
  • 1
    Question for our resident Brits: can you use very everywhere you use quite as a standalone response? Do they feel the same? If so, pursuing the use of the British quite might lead to an informative answer here.
    – Dan Bron
    May 1, 2015 at 10:45

2 Answers 2


"Was the movie good?" "Very." This makes sense, because the responder is applying "very" (adverb) to "good" (adjective)—producing "very good".

However, you can't say that you "very like" something. Usage requires us to add "much" to create an adverbial phrase that can be applied to the verb "like".


We're lucky the BNC (British National Corpus) allows one to search for the period.

I was able this way to make this search:

Only 24 solutions found for this query

ACE 791 ‘Hitler's pact with Stalin — worrying. Very.’

BNC 832 Phillis was a prudent shopper. Very.

C8S 1706 ‘Yes, Monsieur de Chavigny. Very.’

CDE 786 ‘Yes. Very.’

CDE 2331 ‘Yes. Very.

CKC 1343 Favourably impressed. Very.

CKE 2373 ‘Unfortunate. Very.

FRJ 601 Very soon. Very.

GUD 101 ‘Well, it was. Very.

H4C 437 She was very good. Very .

H9Y 1619 The journey was long. Very.

JT3 711 Would it be competitive, though. Very.

JY7 409 …and it had been disconcerting. Very.

K5A 1961 And it is big on sport. Very.

K8R 1599 She was. Very.

KB7 2238 It's ever so nice. Very.

KBC 3847 Yes. Very.

KBF 7182 Yeah. Very.

KBG 2023 Yeah. Very.

KCH 6276 Cos she's very generous. Very.

KCT 11791 Yeah. Very .

KCV 4967 You seem very happy. Very.

KCV 4997 Yes. Very.

KD5 4468 Fo four door but there's some problem because it's their . Very .

which allows me to say that the British are using this fragment (for this is what it is called), "Very." too. I doubt the Irish could have a different take on this one, but ....

  • 2
    To answer OP's question, it needs to be known whether these were answers to questions, and, if so, what questions. Apr 30, 2015 at 21:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.