tiistai 10. huhtikuuta 2018

Ragan.com: A defense of adverbs

Adverbs aren’t very popular these days.

We all know how Stephen King regards and Mark Twain regarded them. English teachers, writing coaches, and would-be authors advise everyone to avoid them. J.K. Rowling—best-selling author and creator of the “Harry Potter” series—has been criticized relentlessly for her use of them.

Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at adverbs, the most maligned of the parts of speech.

Adverbs describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They describe how, when, where, and how much.

Ex: “I was soundly beaten the last time I played Scrabble.

The disdain many writers and editors have for adverbs often occurs when adverbs are used with the word “said.” Here are a few examples.

Ex: “You cheated. That’s the only way you could have won,” I said angrily.

In this example the adverb angrily modifies the word “said.” However, a stronger verb would remove the need for the adverb.

Ex: “You cheated. That’s the only way you could have won,” I barked.

The stronger verb “barked” provides more value.

Yet, what if the first sentence used a stronger adverb?

Ex: “You cheated. That’s the only way you could have won,” I said crossly.

Which is the better sentence, the second or third?

Writers shouldn’t necessarily avoid adverbs altogether; they must choose them judiciously. Opt for precise and descriptive wordings over meaningless and unimaginative phrases.

Also, don’t use too many of them. It’s okay to leave “said” as “said.”

[FREE GUIDE: 10 ways to improve your writing today.]

Below are a few examples of strong adverbs. These may not work in every context, but they can add variety to your writing.

  • Anxiously
  • Ardently
  • Atrociously
  • Bleakly
  • Breathlessly
  • Crossly
  • Dimly
  • Disdainfully
  • Defiantly
  • Earnestly
  • Elegantly
  • Evasively
  • Exuberantly
  • Fervently
  • Grimly
  • Harmoniously
  • Hopelessly
  • Incoherently
  • Indifferently
  • Inexorably
  • Inwardly
  • Languidly
  • Mockingly
  • Modestly
  • Neighborly
  • Relentlessly
  • Repulsively
  • Rigidly
  • Scarcely
  • Sheepishly
  • Somberly
  • Sparsely
  • Spitefully
  • Sullenly
  • Tacitly
  • Tartly
  • Vainly
  • Voluntarily
  • Waywardly

Do you have any favorite adverbs to share? Please post them below.

Laura Hale Brockway is a writer and editor from Austin, Texas. Read more of her posts on writing, editing, and corporate life on PR Daily and at impertinentremarks.com.

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