Thursday, July 1, 2010

Death to Adverbs

Adverbs? To use them or not to use them? And don't give me that stuff about how many -ly words there are in Harry Potter. That doesn't mean they add anything to your writing. I come down on the side of use sparingly or not at all. Julie Gonzalez and I were discussing this via email and she came up with an -ly loaded sentence to make her point. So I stole the idea and made a shirt at my shirt shop. Click the link if you want one. DTA Shirt.

Otherwise, mentor Cherry Adair's very practical tip on adverbs is that when you're in the grip of the muse (the writing's going good) just use them. Then go back during rewrites, take out the -ly and put in an action word or phrase. See how helpful she is? Her advice is, take out at least 80%.


  1. Death to Adverbs could turn into a movement . . . even a revolution. Maybe the government will tax authors for every 'ly' word they write and use the taxes to promote other suffixes . . . 'ful' for examle, is a very useFUL suffix. "Ic can be anticlimactIC, and 'less' is absolutely hopeLESS.DEATH TO ADVERBS!!!

  2. Yes. A luxury tax. After all adverbs are really a shortcut and an indulgence. They should be sprinkled in with care, not placed anywhere and everywhere as the tendency is.