Quite clear to me is the use of very before an adjective. It emphasizes. But then, when very is used before a noun, it confuses me.
Furthermore, if it’s before the noun which is not definable in degrees or intensities, is using ‘very’ okay? In other words, is it okay to use very before a noun that you simply cannot emphasize?
Jack L. Scott was born on June 10, 1940, in the very home he was raised and passed away in, in rural Brownstown – The EDN
He disagreed strenuously with Cruz and said the very fact that he had planned to propose the same increase was clear evidence that owners had been disingenuous in their arguments for a much larger rent hike. – Capital New York
What’s very home? *If he’s raised in some corner of the home – it’s in the home; *If he’s raised in the center of the home – it’s in the very home? 😉
What’s very fact? The documents have been stolen – is fact; The documents have been stolen by the President – is very fact? 😉
If it applies to ‘undegreeable’ nouns, this sentence should be ‘okay’, shouldn’t it? — The very death of the father shook the entire family.
Also, in such usage, very looks both to me -an adverb and an adjective.
“Very” has come to indicate a great degree or extent, but this is not the only, or even original, meaning. Ultimately, “very” comes from the Latin for “truth”. If someone is “very tall” then they are “truly tall”. Over time it has taken on an emphatic meaning, perhaps by indicating that the phrase is more than mere hyperbole or by suggesting that what is claimed would be true by any standard. You might call a person “tall”, who appears short to someone else. Calling someone “very tall” suggests a matter of fact, rather than opinion. The underlying meaning of this usage has been forgotten over time.
In other uses, the implied “truthfulness” can have a restrictive or limiting effect, rather than the emphatic effect you are expecting (“the very house” and not some other). It can be useful where the phrase might be surprising or incredible without it. Consider the phoenix, the very death of which gives it new life.