pretty somewhat very

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Senior Member
Hello, my friends,

I came across these sentence in a book named Common Errors in English Usage:

“it's pretty common to use "pretty" to mean "somewhat" in ordinary speech; but it should be avoided in formal writing, where sometimes "very" is more appropriate. The temptation to use "pretty" usually indicates the writer is being vague, so changing to something more specific may be an even better solution: "a pretty bad mess" might be "chocolate syrup spilled all over the pizza which had been dumped upside down on the carpet."

Since the author gives three options namely "pretty", "somewhat" and "very", which is more appropriate in formal writing.
  • stez

    Senior Member
    english - australia
    'Somewhat' and 'very' are both appropriate in formal speech. They have quite different meanings, however.
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