Adverbally Speaking

The first time I heard that you should minimise your use of adverbs–correction, the first few times I heard it–I pretty much ignored it. I like adverbs, I thought to myself. Why should I stop using them?

Eventually of course, as you would expect, I am told to cut my lys by my publisher. I let my bottom lip drop to the floor for a bit before I sighed in resignation and began the hunt for adverbs in my manuscript.

It didn’t take long before I realised I was being sentimental about nothing. Those who suggest adverbs are not always necessary are completely right. They aren’t. My eyes were opened.

I discovered that I used phrases like “walked quickly”, which can be replaced by “hurried” and has a better effect in the end. So simple. In other places I had used an adverb which really just doubled up on the verb. For instance, “softly whispered”. Everyone knows a whisper is soft, so it is unnecessary to use it at all.Β It was one of those “duh” moments for me.

So, if there is anyone else out there who loves their ly words, like me, you might have to let them go to make your writing tighter and faster paced.

By the way, I have use a couple of very unnecessary adverbs in this blog post. Can you find them and tell me what they are? πŸ™‚

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Published in: on 28th January, 2011 at 10:54 am  Comments (8)  
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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Absolutely right!!!
    I wouldn’t mind a red shirt like the one above. How about you?

    • Yeah, great shirt, eh! Love it. πŸ™‚

  2. Did you know that the cricketer, Brett Lee, is Australia’s fastest adverb!

    • Hahaha. Very funny Paul. πŸ˜›

  3. Maybe ‘completely right’? I’d cut it because of the cliche, anyway.
    ‘Really just’!!!

    And on the t-shirt, isn’t seriously a bit of an adverb?

    • Thanks for all the comments, Katelyn. πŸ™‚ And yes, the “really just” is unnecessary.

  4. Guilty… and in full agreement. I learned this lesson when I started reading writing tips on FaithWriters! Makes for tighter writing, which we all want. Yay for learning and refining πŸ™‚

    • It is a real eye-opener when you realise how we overuse them, eh Dotty. XXOO


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