Invitation to Share Writing Ideas

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I’m inviting everyone (both writers and readers) to share some of their beliefs, writing habits, expertise, and opinions on a variety of subjects connected to writing or reading novels. For today’s topic, I’d like to hear what you think about the use of adverbs.

In school we were taught to use many adverbs to help make our writing more interesting. Now we are told that we would do better to find a stronger verb and get rid of the adverbs which often will no longer be needed.

e.g.

1. The old man walked along crookedly and painfully.

Or: The old man limped along.

2. The puppy ran exuberantly through the fields.

Or: The puppy bounded through the fields.

What do you think? Do you have any thoughts about the use (or overuse) of adverbs? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Anneli-footer-with-border-400x210

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12 thoughts on “Invitation to Share Writing Ideas

  1. I agree that strong verbs paint a clearer picture than adverbs, but I don’t agree that we should eliminate adverbs completely from our writing as there are times when they strengthen an image. “Slowly I allow my head to turn in the direction of the ice.” versus “I allow my head to turn in the direction of the ice.” Or “He sat upright and gestured at her with his pipe, a move she’d come to think of as friendly concern.” versus “He sat upright and gestured at her with his pipe, a move she’d come to think of as concern.” In these examples I think the dreaded “ly” word adds to the picture.

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  2. Anneli… you are actually asking for my opinion. …. when I don’t have the best of ideas about what an adverb really is and if there is someone who knows what my knowledge is, it’s you…. so I will refrain from adding a bit here and refer you to the best editor I know…. YOU…..

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  3. I used to ask my students to write a story using complete sentences, but they could only use two word sentences. That meant that every sentence contained a subject and a verb. And the verbs had to be exact and stunning. When you do that assignment you really notice how weak our verbs are, in general. So I am in favor of better verbs and less adverbs. But I resent being told I can’t ever use them!

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  4. Hi Anneli,

    One of my influences when it comes to writing, other than yourself, has been an essay from George Orwell’s essay on writing. Which pretty much asks us to keep the writing simple. Then it would be safe to say that using a stronger verb keeps the writing simple but enjoyable for the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

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