Death To The Adverb!

By Natasha R.

Posted on

You may or may not have heard about the dreaded adverb and why it’s bad in writing. In case you haven’t though, let me start from the beginning.

Adverb – a word or phrase that modifies or qualifies an adjective, verb, or other adverb or a word group, expressing a relation of place, time, circumstance, manner, cause, degree, etc. (e.g., gently, quite, then, there )

So, what makes the adverb bad? Adverbs in and of themselves are not bad. They’re very prominent in academic writing and essays, but that sort of writing is meant to inform people. It’s telling. That, my friends, is why adverbs are considered lazy writing. A large amount of adverbs will make your manuscript telling and not showing.

Does that mean you can’t ever use an adverb? Of course not! Sometimes they’re appropriate, but most times, in the editing stage, you’re going to be able to pluck out those adverbs and find a stronger way to write your sentence.

Example:

Joan passionately, intimately, and abrasively kissed Michael. 

Whoah! That’s a lot of adverbs, and all telling. There’s no picture in my head of Joan and Michael’s kiss.

So, how do we turn it into showing?

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