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Friday, September 16, 2016 Adverbs Aren't Exciting

Adverbs AREN’T exciting!!

Wait, what? Sure, adverbs are a great way to increase the word count in your paper, but how much do they actually accomplish? When we learned about adverbs in the fifth grade, we learned that they increased the explanations of each sentence and made them way better.

Not true.

When your sentences are succinct, they take the force of your message and bring it right to the reader. It’s sort of like drinking orange juice from the bottle versus drinking orange juice diluted with water. When your sentences are short, they’re sweet. And when they’re sweet, they’re better.

What adverbs do is (figuratively) add water to your orange juice and make the message less flavorful and exciting. They drag out your argument and bore the reader because your sentence becomes so long! The truth is, vibrant writing calls for awesome verbs.

To combat the use of adverbs, use more lively verbs instead! Here are some examples:

  • Instead of “walked clumsily” use “stumbled”
  • Instead of “loudly cried” use “bawled”
  • Instead of “quickly threw” use “pitched”
  • Instead of “carefully planned” use “designed”
  • Instead of “finely chopped” use “julienned”
  • Instead of “slowly change” use “transition”

“Wow, I can see how this makes such a big difference, so how do I change this myself?”

To identify where your adverbs are, look for things that modify a verb. They usually end in “ly,” like in all of the examples above. Sometimes people will write two together, so make sure you find each one. Someone could “quickly and efficiently” find something. In that case there are two adverbs. Once you identify where your adverbs are, make sure to identify the verb that goes with it. You can then combine the idea that the two adverbs convey and put the idea in one word (the verb) to make your sentence vibrant.

Remember that exciting papers come from the use of verbs and not adverbs!

Posted at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)
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