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Adverbs Are NOT Your Friends

Updated on October 16, 2010

No matter what you are writing, adverbs are absolutely NOT your friends. Engrain this in your brains. Adverbs are easy to use and make your writing weak, take your reader out of the story.

The use of adverbs takes away an opportunity to use a strong verb. Strong verbs show your reader what is happening as opposed to using adverbs to tell them how something occurred.

For instance:

She walked slowly through the woods.

Instead, you could write something like this:

She trudged through the woods.

The use of a stronger verb allows the reader to visualize what is happening. If she is walking slowly, she could just be tired. Trudging shows she may not want to be there. It gives off a completely different tone and meaning.

A good exercise for using stronger verbs is to play the statues game. The statues game is best when used in a group but can be done alone on a sheet of paper. The purpose of the game is to describe the statues using verbs. As in: The statues danced. The statues lurked. These verbs can get really creative and the better your verbs the more you learn about the statues. Are they happy statues? Sad statues? Use how you want to portray the statues and apply that to the character you are writing.

Whether it's non-fiction, fiction, or poetry, the adverb rule applies. Stronger verbs will make your writing generally stronger. Put the reader in the text, don't "break the dream."


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    • amesplaza profile image

      amesplaza 7 years ago from starbucks

      well, of course authors are going to use them, however, for people just beginning to write, especially, the use of adverbs weakens writing. It's about the placement of them. If adverbs are being used as a crutch instead of a stronger active verb then, it definitely keeps the writing from being as successful.

    • tmbridgeland profile image

      tmbridgeland 7 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

      And yet, and yet...any author you pick up has scads of them.

    • kookoo88 profile image

      kookoo88 7 years ago from Cripple Creek

      Very good advice. Simple, yet extremely powerful. I'm going to start looking for this in my writing, because I think I use a lot of adverbs.

    • profile image

      Fiddleman 7 years ago

      Good pointer and a great hub.