a brief observation about adverbs

You know what else seems to have become a “thing” in writing?  Using bad grammar in order to avoid using adverbs.  Kids these days, they’ve been told so often that adverbs are evil — and worse yet, the mark of a hack! — that they would rather use the wrong word than one of those words.  Quickly is an adverb (it has that wicked -ly ending and everything!), so don’t use it — use fast instead.


The word fast cannot modify a verb; it’s an adjective, reserved for modifying nouns (also pronouns and other adjectives, but never verbs).  If you want to modify a verb, you need an adverb.  Period.  It doesn’t have to end in -ly (some of the most common ones don’t), but if it is modifying a verb (and grammatically correct — no cheating), it is an adverb.

Get this into your brain if it isn’t already there:  any word that modifies a verb is an adverb.  If you really, truly believe in the Law of Adverb Avoidance, you must never, ever use any word that modifies a verb in a sentence.

Good luck with that, because I have yet to see anyone, even the most fervent adverb-hater, pull it off.



About Thomas Weaver

I’m a writer and editor who got into professional editing almost by accident years ago when a friend from university needed someone to copyedit his screenplay about giant stompy robots (mecha). Having discovered that I greatly enjoy this kind of work, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use ever since as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom. I'm physically disabled, and for the past several years, I’ve lived with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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3 Responses to a brief observation about adverbs

  1. See http://wp.me/p30cCH-TJ if you’re in the mood for more strange ideas on this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

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