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What, No Adverbs?

by Donna L. Rich

So many “how to” books tell me to weed out weak adverbs, and as I look at my own work, I’m paranoid. However, I’m not paranoid enough. In writing this post, I referred to my current edit in process. I wanted to see how many times I used an ly word when a stronger verb would work better. Ouch! Would you believe, forty ly words in the first chapter? I’ve listed a few of those below and the words I’ve used to replace them.

Entirely disregarded: disregarded means pay no attention to. You’ve either disregarded or not disregarded. Entirely is not needed.

Pausing only briefly: Pausing already means you’ve stopped briefly. Changed to suspending his grazing (talking about a horse).

I can hardly believe: I can’t believe

Hopefully: I hope

Eventually: After a while

It may be a while until I’ve chased down all my ly words.

Once you get all your adverbs taken care of, head over to Rachelle Gardner’s site for the April 25, 2012 post to view other words to eliminate from your manuscript. http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/04/how-to-cut-thousands-of-words/

The third one down in her list really (and I meant to use that adverb for emphasis) hurts: Cut the words ending in ing. Oh, no! Didn’t I just replace one ing word above with another when I eliminated some ly adverbs?

Just (it’s in the list) when I thought I was nearly (in the list) finished changing ing words, I found more to eliminate. Can anyone say, “Cut my book in half?”

Rachelle advises we consider these words for their necessity and effectiveness: about, actually, almost, like, appears, approximately, basically, close to, even, eventually, exactly, finally, just, just then, kind of, nearly, practically, really, seems, simply, somehow, somewhat, sort of, suddenly, truly, utterly, were.

That brings me around to another part of speech. Is a preposition a bad word to end a sentence with?

Be blessed!
Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.

Donna Rich
Donna L. Rich is a member of ACFW and writes contemporary and historical romance. She and her husband live in Huntington, Indiana, and adore their beautiful blended family of six married children, seventeen grandchildren, and soon to be four great-grandchildren. Her third book, Love for the Right Reasons released in March from Heartsong.

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4 Responses to What, No Adverbs?

  1. Love the post. Beginning a sentence with an “ing” word bugs me to pieces. I counted three in one paragraph and then 6 on the page in a book I recently read. Editing my own now using Rachelle’s word list. Ouch!

  2. Bonnie Doran says:

    One of my pet peeves for adverbs is very unique. Either something is one of a kind or it isn’t.

  3. Love this post, especially since I’m on the final edit of my wip!

  4. Pingback: Those Pesky Adverbs | The Inkwell