More About Adverbs

Upon request, this is another post on adverbs and verbs. Even if you’re good with the concept, this should still be pretty helpful.

Adverbs are words that end in -ly, right? Most of the time. Quickly, sadly, awfully, angrily, happily, softly, loudly. These are all adverbs. Well, imagine reading something like this:

Example: Slowly, he walked towards her. Although he was walking slowly, his thoughts were moving quickly through his mind. Was he making the right choice? He began walking faster, began walking briskly towards the girl. She was waiting for him, and as he drew nearer she began to call out to him softly.

Eek. Did you count the adverbs in that paragraph? There are five, if you count slowly twice. Doesn’t it sound cluttered? Too much -ly. If you’re still not sure, think about it again once you read this version:

Revised version: He walked towards her, lingering every so often along the way. Although he hesitated, thoughts raced through his mind like a speeding car. Was he making the right choice? He quickened his pace, now striding towards the girl. She was waiting for him, and as he drew nearer she called out softly.

You may have noticed that I didn’t just cut out the adverbs. I added some more words to make the writing flow. I also threw in a simile that wasn’t there before. Do you want to know why? Because once you cut out unnecessary adverbs, you have room to stick in similes and metaphors. They look and sound much better on the page than those clumsy adverbs do.

But sometimes you will not find a verb that can get rid of your adverb. And that’s okay. Obviously we have to use them sometimes. If you look at my example above, you can see that I left the adverb softly in there. That’s because I couldn’t find just one verb for that situation. And that’s what adverbs are for- for those times when they fit in just right and nothing else works.

If you’re still having trouble deciding when to use adverbs and when not to, try using I always have it open on my computer whenever I’m writing anything. It’s very helpful. I just typed in “walk slowly” and it gave me synonyms!

I hope this was helpful and cleared up anything that wasn’t explained in the other adverb post. If you still have questions, leave them in a comment!

5 Replies to “More About Adverbs”

  1. Excellent examples and explanation. Clarifies things for us non-writers!!

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