StyleWord Usage

Avoid artificial superlatives

The following text is taken verbatim from the book, 300 Days of Better Writing: A daily handbook for improving your writing written by David Bowman (2010)

“Artificial superlatives are words like really, super, and very. People use them in an attempt to get the reader excited about some idea or topic. Consider these sentences.

“The Broncos are really great. They are having a very good year.”

The problem is that these words don’t actually add anything to the meaning. For example, a “very good year” doesn’t tell the reader anything more than a “good year” because the writer’s definition of “very” isn’t defined. Also, in many cases, the reader will know what the writer is trying to do, and this may cause the reader to reject the writer’s idea.

A good writer uses the content, not these superlatives, to create enthusiasm. Clear and effective writing uses the content to describe how great, super, really, very, etc. the idea is.”