I've heard "very nature" as in:

It's the very nature of our relationship.

and "very essence" as in:

It's the very essence of my being.

but can one use "very consequence"?

As in:

It's the very consequence of my existence.

More generally, what nouns can one use after "very"? Is it all idiomatic or are there rules which govern the phrasing?

  • 1
    No. ................
    – Ricky
    Nov 7, 2018 at 23:10
  • 1
    No. Very can only be used as an intensive adjective with things that are unique and central. Consequences are not unique, nor are they always central. Nor does consequence have anything to do with your existence. Nov 7, 2018 at 23:23
  • 5
    "I caused the very consequence I was trying to avoid." "very: 3. precise; particular: That is the very item we want." A Google search turns up 13,800 results.
    – Zebrafish
    Nov 8, 2018 at 0:03
  • 1
    @JohnLawler If the OP was talking about something like consuming resources, it could work.
    – Lawrence
    Nov 8, 2018 at 0:13
  • 1
    @timwiz The first phrase I just made up. The second phrase is just from adictionary. I think I searched "the very consequence" in Google, which now returns 12,800 returns. Google is a bit strange, I've noticed the results vary even when repeating a search after a few minutes, not quite sure what this variability is due to. Also interesting, both in a Google search and NGrams "the very consequence" appears to be more frequent as "the exact consequence". Sorry, the links won't fit here but you can search it. Not sure how many false positives there are in these results.
    – Zebrafish
    Nov 8, 2018 at 16:15

1 Answer 1


Yes it makes perfect sense.

It's a literary device for emphasis.

The suggestion is it is not just the consequence, or any consequence, but in fact the exact consequence.

More generally, what nouns can one use after "very"? Is it all idiomatic or are there rules which govern the phrasing?

The use of very in this way is not particularly idiomatic, this is more of a literary device.

See here, for other examples of this usage:


Your Answer

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

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