Writer’s Gripe – What The Hell Is Wrong With Adverbs Anyway?

This has to rank up there among my top ten seething peeves.  (This is different from a normal peeve where I just grumble and ignore.  Seething peeves can ignite into a rant.)  When I use my automated proofing program, it pings me on my adverb usage.  I admit, I tend to use a lot of them, but it’s not because I can’t find the words I want to use.  It’s because, if there is a word that precisely fits the mood and sense of what I want to portray, it is so damned obscure, I’d be sending people to dictionary.com constantly.  And who wants to have to keep looking up words while reading a fantasy novel?  I certainly don’t.  I doubt anyone out there wants to, too.  So why, pray tell, have we ostracized a perfectly good and acceptable form of grammar from our literary works?  Oh, sure, I get the wanting to eliminate unnecessary words.  And I perfectly understand changing up the sounds before sounding like a weird poem where everything rhymes with -LEE.  But even when I comb out those things, it’s still yelling at me.  It might be happy if I didn’t use any adverbs at all.  But how boring would that be?

And don’t even get me started on it’s issues with sentences that start with words ending in “-ing” or anything possessing the passive tense.  Or pronouns.  Grr.

And now, back to the grind.

About LexyWolfe

I am a writer of fantasy and occasionally science fiction.
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4 Responses to Writer’s Gripe – What The Hell Is Wrong With Adverbs Anyway?

  1. Pingback: The Purpose of Storytelling – My $0.02 Opinion | Lexy Wolfe

  2. Pingback: Writer’s Gripe – Vocabulary is a writer’s responsibility | Lexy Wolfe

  3. Nynrose says:

    I didn’t understand it until I attended a conference run by the Maryland Romance Writer’s Association in October. Ever since the conference, I’ve been more aware of my usage. Essentially, if you have too many of them in your manuscript, they become distracting and the text doesn’t flow. There are often better ways to say what you want to say without another -ly word in the context. IE: She walked silently could be, instead, she tiptoed, which conveys the same meaning without using the adverb…. They had lots of good examples. But, in that end, to each their own.

    Like

    • LexyWolfe says:

      It isn’t that I don’t understand it. I agree that a plethora of adverbs can be distracting. As can a ton of adjectives, or words that I don’t understand or I do but I know they’re being used wrong.

      Sometimes, I think that the contortions I have to go through to avoid an adverb makes me sound artificial. My goal is to come across as genuine.

      Like

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