Excessive modification (in particular, excessive use of very and almost any use of totally)

Inexperienced writers undervalue adjectives such as beautiful, interesting, dull, sharp, confused, etc. or adverbs such as quickly, slowly, gracefully, clumsily, etc. These writers attempt to intensify the description by adding very or totally (totally momentarily substitutes for very, at least in some suburbs of California): a paper is not interesting but very interesting. Although very is a legitimate adverb (and sometimes an adjective), use it sparingly or the critical reader will conclude that you are overstating the condition. In several cases, very should never be used. Thus, the adjectives unique, rare, awful, bogus, etc. imply an exceptional condition, and addition of very is redundant and weakens the original adjective.

example: That chicken is very dead. Unless we are considering vampire chickens, chickens are either dead or not.

example: That professor is totally bogus. Bogus describes an extreme condition, making degrees of bogosity inappropriate.

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