Friday, July 9, 2010
Adverbs: the Scourge of Prose
Adverbs are really bad.
Adverbs are bad.
The second sentence of the above example is stronger without the adverb.
Adverbs add weight and length to writing which should be short and tight. The use of adverbs show a lack of confidence and they often restate the obvious:
He ran quickly.
Running is a quick motion. If you want to emphasise the quickness then it would be better to say: ‘He bolted’, or ‘He dashed’. This puts a striking image in the reader’s mind and makes the writing more interesting.
She was very small.
She was tiny.
She was so small she was mistaken for an M&M.
This is not to say adverbs can’t be used at all. Just be sure when you do choose to use them.
Can you think of any amusing examples of the poor use of adverbs?