American English

Definition of very adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    [only before noun]
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  1. 1used to emphasize that you are talking about a particular thing or person and not about another synonym actual Those were her very words. He might be phoning her at this very moment. That's the very thingI need.
  2. 2used to emphasize an extreme place or time It happens at the very beginning of the book. We stayed till the very end of the party.
  3. 3used to emphasize a noun synonym mere The very thought of a drink made him feel sick. “I can't do that!” she gasped, shocked at the very idea.
  4. Idioms
    before/in front of somebody's (very) eyes
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     in someone's presence; in front of someone He had seen his life's work destroyed before his very eyes.
Grammarvery / very muchVery is used with adjectives, past participles used as adjectives, and adverbs:I am very hungry. I was very happy 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 (all 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 students. However, with comparative adjectives, much, very much, a lot, etc. are used:Your work is a lot better. much younger studentsVery 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 flawlessly.Very is not used with verbs. Use very much instead:We enjoyed staying with you very much.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: very