It seems hard on the poor little weasel, which is quite cute, you will agree.
I suppose it is just barely possible that a writer will suddenly discover that every single “very” should be removed from his or her writing, but most of them, or at least some, might actually be playing a useful role in the text.
Okay, did I get every single “weasel word” in the above sentence? Here they are:
Did any of them bother any of you in the above sentence? I am actually not very bothered by any of these words, though that might suddenly change if I find myself just really overusing one or another of them, I suppose.
I would include “really” and “actually” and “quite” in this list, btw. But I would exclude “but.”
My favorite post about this topic was Gary Corbey’s explanation of how he got autocorrect to change “just” to “NO! NO! NO!” Now that is hilarious. Also, it would sure train you to quit using the word “just” in your writing.
Does “sure” count as another little weasel?
I will admit that I do sometimes find it necessary to go through and remove about half my “very’s”. But one thing I appreciate about the “weasel word” post linked above is this:
“Sometimes if a weasel word is used within dialogue, it should stay. Ask yourself if the sentence would sound weird or out of character if you took it out. Weasel words are usually acceptable if a specific character is using them. Usually.”
Because, yes. In the sequel to BLACK DOG, one character says “just” fairly often — I hope not often enough to annoy readers — but I tried to make sure it was him and not everyone.
And yes, this is something to think about after completing and even polishing a draft. I would not suggest derailing your writing efforts by worrying about it during the actual writing process.