10 intensifiers you should really, absolutely avoid

Unless something or someone inspired awe, stop using the word awesome. And while you’re at it, stop abusing very, fabulous and seven other intensifiers.

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You are not hereby forbidden to employ the following adjectives according to their casual connotations. But to strengthen your writing, try limiting usage to that which most closely reflects their literal meaning:

1. Absolute: The original sense of absolute is “ultimate,” but now it is weakly used as an intensifier (“It was an absolute riot!”). Minimize, too, usage in the connotations of “outright” and “unquestionable” and reserve it to mean “unrestrained” or “fundamental.”

2. Awesome: Originally, something awesome inspired awe. Now, the most mundane phenomena are exalted as such. Try devoting this word to truly spectacular sensations alone.

3. Fabulous: This adjective, derived from fable, once referred to sensory stimuli one might expect to encounter in a flight of fancy. It’s long since been appropriated to describe extravagant fashion sense or, more mundanely, notable accomplishments, but it is most potent when restricted to describing phantasmagorical phenomena.

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