Why Adverbs Suck

Dog LeashI’ve been coming across a lot of stylistic guides over the past few days … perhaps due to hththt‘s posts on 9Rules about great writing tutorials online. A lot of them are good, and a lot of them talk about the horror of adverbs.

What are adverbs?

Adverbs are words that are used in writing to answer questions such as how?, when?, where? … and so on. (Wikipedia link)

A few examples: “I love you,” she said tenderly.

He threw the ball expertly; the crowd cheered as it arced through the air.

“Kill her.” He said coldly, “And then leave the body here to rot.”

So? What seems to be the problem? These sentences seem perfectly alright on their own. But allow me rewrite them, and let’s see what happens:

“I love you,” she said, her hands tracing the outline of his face.

He threw the ball in a single fluid motion; the crowd cheered as it arced through the air.

“Kill her.” He said, eyes cold and distant, “And then leave the body here to rot.”

Replacing the adverb in all three cases strengthens the impact of the sentence and adds a degree of depth: in the first example, you knew she said it tenderly – but the rewritten version tells you how exactly the tenderness was expressed.

In a sentence: If used incorrectly, adverbs can blunt the impact and power of a verb.

This brings us to our next problem: How can you tell if an adverb is used correctly?

The solution is actually pretty simple. Reread your writing and take note of the adverbs used (typically ending with -ly). Ask yourself this question: “Is this adverb absolutely necessary?

An example of a necessary adverb:

Ceri got to his feet slowly, a mild headache throbbing between his temples.

The use of slowly cannot be replaced or expanded upon, and is in fact necessary to convey the pain Ceri is experiencing and the effect it has on his movements. Another example:

Yuki calmly blocked a forward blow; Bishop’s palm streaked upwards and a corresponding streak of falling bricks and disintegrating mortar appeared in the side of the hall.

The calmly here can actually be expanded upon, but there is no way of doing so without muddling up the sentence. This is due to the fact that in long sentences it is absolutely vital to keep both subject (Yuki) and verb (blocked) at the very front … anything between will just confuse the reader.

Let’s end with the bad use of an adverb:

Suddenly, there was an eruption of searing white light.

And how can we improve that without changing the meaning of the sentence? Simple:

There was a sudden eruption of searing white light.

It’s pretty amazing what proper adverb usage can do for your writing. The next time you’re flipping through a magazine or a newspaper grab a pencil and watch out for them. Good writers use them sparingly. Do the same.

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Category: Learning To Write
  • http://www.ohouse.ca Gloria Hildebrandt

    Yup, it’s too easy to use adverbs. Your examples of “befores and afters” are great. Showing is better than telling in fiction, and you’ve done this well in your post!

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Thanks for the feedback Gloria! Took me 2 hours to write that. The computer is so unproductive. ;P

  • http://hortonsfolly.blogspot.com/ Horton Carew

    Dear NovelR,

    I must disagree with your assessment of adverbs. In the hands of a skilled writer such as myself, adverbs can be used to enliven dull prose.

    I invite you to take a look at this old entry from my electronic diary which demonstrates just how effective adverbs can prove:

    http://hortonsfolly.blogspot.com/2006/05/loreals-secrets-revealed-via-ghost.html

    You are welcome to borrow a few of my adverbs to use in your own diary if you wish, provided you properly acknowledge your source and attribute them to me.

    Thank you,
    Horton Carew

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    *Falls laughing off chair*

    Good one, Horton!

  • Anon

    The last example isn’t an example of a bad use of an adverb; it is a bad use of a sentence. For instance, it could be much more effectively constructed through the use of an adverb and the active voice: Suddenly, a searing white light erupted.

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    I don’t think so. The ‘suddenly’ has stilted impact, and your sentence wouldn’t have the desired effect of shock.

    I’ll go without the suddenLY any day.

  • http://www.billhilton.biz Bill Hilton

    “Adverbs are words that are used in writing to answer questions such as how?, when?, where? … and so on. ”

    That’s broadly right, but risks some confusion. For example, if I wrote this sentence:

    “I ate dinner.”

    And somebody asked me rewrite it to answer the question “when?”, I might go for something like this:

    “I ate dinner at six o’clock.”

    Within that sentence the words “at six o’clock” constitute an adverbial phrase, but the sentence isn’t especially clunky, and there isn’t the kind of gratuitous -ly adverb you’re targetting in your post.

    A tighter definition – or at least one that better suits your argument – would be that an adverb is a word that describes how the action contained in a verb is performed. The best way to avoid that kind of adverb is to muscle up your verbs. So instead of writing “Jane shouted loudly”, try “Jane yelled” or “Jane hollered”.

    If you’ll forgive some gratuitous plugging, I’ve got a post on adverbs here:

    http://www.billhilton.biz/2007/04/copywriters-foe-adverbs.html

    Great site, by the way!

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Thank you, Bill. Sorry for the late reply, must have missed it earlier in one of my inactive periods.

    Again, thank you for the clarification. Much obliged.

  • http://www.billhilton.biz Bill Hilton

    No problem at all. Mind you, you’re probably best off following Horton’s advice: I am a mere artisan – he, it goes without saying, is an Artist.

  • http://www.alexandraerin.com Alexandra Erin

    I have to say the last example, the “suddenly” one, smacks of anti-adverb bias.

    What precisely is the advantage of an adjective over an adverb? What is the precise advantage of an adjective over an adverb?

    (See what I did there?*)

    Sure, putting the modifier in the midst of the action makes the sentence more straightforward, but in what way is a “sudden eruption” better than searing white light “suddenly erupting?”

    I would think the advice for improving the sentence would be to “active-ate” it, as its current passive voice is hardly in keeping with the nature of a “sudden eruption.”

    “Searing white light suddenly erupted from [the source of the white light eruption.]”

    *(And regarding my little example, I’d be quick to point out there’s a difference in tone between the two sentences… if the adjectival form seems more straightforward, to call it an improvement assumes that a straightforward approach is always called for. If you have somebody speaking, you can almost hear the emphasis on “precisely” in the first one and imagine the displeasure and impatience with which the answer is awaited.

    Put “precisely” into almost any question, and see for yourself:

    “And just who precisely are you to lecture me?”

    “What precisely did you hope to accomplish with this little stunt?”

    “When precisely did you decide that pants were optional at a state function?”

    You’re not going to pull off the same effect with an adjective!)

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Oh damn … that’s true.

    After rereading your argument I have to admit you’re right. It is more a problem of passive vs active voice, isn’t it?

    Hrmm. Should I edit my post?

  • http://nomananisland.wordpress.com Gavin Williams

    I think so — AE put it well, but I wanted to add my two cents because of your “tenderly” example. Touching him is certainly a tender expression, but what if it’s a tender tone of voice?

    “I love you,” she said tenderly.
    “I love you,” she said with a tender voice.
    “I love you,” she said, her voice full of tenderness.
    “I love you,” her voice was tender as she spoke.

    The same thing applies when he spoke coldly. If you’re not talking about his “cold and distant eyes,” but about a harsh tone of voice, for instance.

    “Kill her,” he said coldly
    “Kill her,” he said, his voice cold

    What’s the difference, really? Either way I know what it means, and the first sentence is shorter.

  • http://www.billhilton.biz/blog Bill Hilton

    @Gavin:

    The ‘coldly’ version is better. Better still would be:

    “Kill her,” he said.

    Why do we need to be told he’s using a cold voice at all? What does the adverb add to the narrative and our view of the character? If the character is rounded and believable, readers will fill in the information for themselves. If the adverb is there to tell us something about the character, that information would be better conveyed through his or her words or actions.

    It’s a bit like stage directions: pace George Bernard Shaw, when we read a great play we don’t need to be told many details about the characters, because we can pick information up from what they say and do. Shakespeare doesn’t tell us that Hamlet stabs Polonius ‘impulsively’. Actors, readers and audiences already know that Hamlet is capable of impulsive behaviour.

  • http://www.alexandraerin.com Alexandra Erin

    I understand and somewhat agree with that principle, Bill, but theater is a visual medium. Some readers require a bit more “stage dressing” from their text. Or, to look at it another way, such modifiers are not narration to a notional audience but notes from the a notional director to the notional actors in the reader’s head.

    All in all, I think adverbs have been given a bad rap through the vicious cycle of “mentor/workshop” type writing. Somebody who genuinely overuses them has the habit beaten out of him or her, but learns the wrong lesson (or oversimplifies it) and then transmits the habit to the next generation, and so on…

    I mean, to be serious: has anybody ever heard anyone who wasn’t a (possibly only “aspiring”) writer, editor, or literary critic level this complaint against a text? It’s a writer’s rule, ingrained in the subculture of writers and editors. It’s not something that readers by and large care about, unless it gets to Tom Swift levels of ridiculousness.

    I look at it as finding the best tool for the job. If it’s for some reason important to convey the mood (either because you’re subverting the obvious one–“Kill him,” he said tenderly… or because it’s important and you want to draw a double set of lines underneath it), you can either use a more specific verb (“cooed”, “growled”, etc…. another thing that some writers have had beaten out of them past the point of reason) or you can use a generic word with a modifier.

    Describing the actions in more detail does also work, but on the whole it should be treated as another level of emphasis above this. You pull the “his eyes, cold and distant” stunt too often and you’ve drifted into a whole other territory: Purple Prose.

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    I’m afraid I have to disagree with that, Erin. The theater may be a visual medium, but the page makes up for that in senses not available to the theater.

    “Kill him,” he said tenderly has all the makings of a brick in the reader’s windscreen – it’s blunt, it’s hard and … shouldn’t the prose before and after already reveal his tenderness towards the said victim? It’s taking a shortcut, it is.

    It’s a writer’s rule, ingrained in the subculture of writers and editors.

    It may be so, but it’s for a good reason. Adverbs too often allow us to make lousy shortcuts in our writing, and getting rid of them forces us to let our characters express themselves in different ways. Showing, as Bill says, trumps telling.

  • http://www.alexandraerin.com Alexandra Erin

    @Eli:

    If it’s completely at odds with the context and the reader has no idea why the tenderness is there in that line, then yes, it’s like taking a blunt instrument to the audience’s head.

    On the other hand, if you set up the scene as being tender, then it may still necessary to say that piece of dialogue in particular is tender because of the dissonance between the audience expectation for how “Kill him,” should sound and what you’re trying to convey.

    It’s all about context, to the point where the only rule that really works is any rule which presents itself as covering all bases is worthless. “Showing” all the time is Purple Prose territory… for the sake of avoiding one “Writerism”, you’re rushing headlong into another… just like how at the lower strata of the writing circuit, some people are being told not to overuse “said” to the point that every speech is tagged with growled, cooed, barked, whispered, etc… and then when you hit the pro levels, some people have been given such a horror of those words that they attempt to excise them completely, leaving only “said” and the occasional volume-specific form.

    Neither approach is as sensible as “using what’s most appropriate.” Either approach is simpler and easier to teach, though, and therein lies the rub.

    Here’s another key point: ‘”Kill him,” he said, looking with wistfullness into the victim’s eyes and blah blah blah whatever else you want to put there’ doesn’t say his voice sounds tender. It conveys a lot of other stuff going on which may or may not imply a tender tone of voice, but if you want to show the readers that his voice is full of tenderness, you do it the same way you “show” the readers any detail: you tell them that it is so.

    Seriously, if adverbs are an unnecessary shortcut that leads to lazy writing what’s your take on adjectives, then?

    Or on using a more precise word in the first place?

    Why should we get rid of adverbs but keep a word as precisely shaded as “stab?” Instead, should we not say that Hamlet “attacks” Polonius, then spend upwards of half a sentence describing in what way Hamlet attacks him, thereby showing the audience that the old fool was stabbed instead of simply bluntly telling them? I mean, how does precise word differ from using a general word plus a modifier? How is “stab” not as lazy a shortcut as using any adverb?

    The bottom line is that I have yet to see any list of tips that actually shows how adverbs differ from any other part of speech, except for the extent to which they’re reviled by writers’ circles which would rather work with rules to memorize instead of nuance and context.

  • http://nomananisland.wordpress.com Gavin Williams

    And I would say that sometimes you need to tell certain details, because they can’t be shown. You can show tenderness in an act, like caressing a lover’s face. You can show a cold heart with an impassive face while killing your victim.

    But, as an author trying to create a solid scene, if you want to convey the tone of voice being used, you can’t do that without saying “her voice was tender,” or its adverb parallel, “she said tenderly.” There is no action taking place to show, you have to tell the reader how it was said.

    Because “Kill him,” he said coldly
    and “Kill him,” he said tenderly
    and “Kill him,” he said
    and “Kill him,” he whispered
    and “Kill him,” he shouted, all create a different scene and a different character.

    I think Alexandra hits on a key thing — only writers complain about adverbs. I think that they can be overused, and then they become a shortcut and bad writing, but I also think anything can be overused, and anything can become bad writing.

    The key is to gather all the tools you can and use them carefully to convey the imagery, mood, action and characterization that you want in your writing. But part of having the right tools is being flexible and finding uses for words. There are always exceptions to rules.

    “He said coldly,” and “his voice was cold” are synonymous, the only differences are three words versus four, and the first example has an adverb. Readers aren’t going to throw up their hands at the use of an adverb and declare the text unreadable.

    And sometimes the shorter, cleaner sentence conveys meaning with immediacy. Showing every nuance can sometimes slow down the pace of a story. Look at Tolkien — if you take out extensive paragraphs describing houses and trees and weather, and compressed the novel to just the action, the Lord of the Rings wouldn’t be three books. Tolkien showed everything, but took years to get anywhere.

    I agree that it can be overdone, but I also believe there’s a time and a place where they can be used appropriately.

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Lexy: Omitting unnecessary words is a basic rule of good writing. That you try to group adjectives and precise language under the same category as adverbs, which has a higher chance of being unnecessarily used, is confusing to me – how can it bad if the aspiring writer is taught to beware the adverb?

    Adverbs by nature are hanger-ons – they modify adjectives and verbs (and sometimes even other adverbs).

    And hanger-ons have a higher risk of falling into the ‘unnecessary word’ category. That’s how they differ from any other part of speech. By forcing us to be wary of them we’re less likely to overpepper our prose with them, in places where their absence won’t make the slightest bit of difference.

    It certainly doesn’t mean we’ll start writing purple prose. That requires an overuse of imagery and pompous flair, one that I don’t have quite yet. (And the stories I write don’t really require sex) ;P

    PS: on the note of the tender voice … wouldn’t it be a nice challenge to convey the tender note of voice without telling the reader? By creating layered feelings and veiled motivations we are reflecting real life, and by showing the reader these emotions, without telling them, we win.

  • http://nomananisland.wordpress.com Gavin Williams

    I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not saying that to be difficult, but to say that I actually need an example. Readers win when they enjoy what they’re reading, and that happens when they understand what they’re reading.

    If you can write a scene that conveys a tender tone of voice that is as immediate and accessible as using the adverb, I’ll believe you. Because anything else is wasting sentences when you could have used a word, and paragraphs when you could have used a sentence. That’s why Tolkien spends a page on a tree, and three paragraphs on entire battles.

    In a movie, the battle takes twenty minutes and the tree was three seconds — I think good writers use the words they need to convey what’s important. If all you want is the tender tone, and not Purple Prose, “tenderly” works.

    If it can be done better, everyone reading this will have learned something. I’d also like to see the “Kill him,” he said coldly.

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Sorry Gavin, I wrote my reply before yours appeared.

    That there is a place for adverbs in prose is a given. It’s the overuse of them that concerns me. You’ve given good examples of places where we can’t do without adverbs, and you’re right. We can’t.

    Everywhere else, on the other hand …

    Lexy’s point about only writers/critics/editor complain about adverbs is partially correct. The reader can’t complain about the adverb because he doesn’t know about it! Give him Steinbeck and a slush pile work and he’ll know which is better, but he can’t say why, exactly!

    On the other hand, perfect prose is by no means a replacement for story. Grisham gets by on less than stellar writing (because his story rocks!) and Kiran Desai, while lyrical, is horrible for me to read.

  • http://www.alexandraerin.com Alexandra Erin

    I’ve seen people overuse adverbs and I’ve advised them when and where I felt they were unnecessary… but the fact that adverbs can be overused does not make them inherently bad.

    This is exactly why new writers shouldn’t be taught to beware adverbs: because the lesson they learn is “avoid adverbs”, and they end up going on to advise other writers to add whole sentences to their text in the paradoxical interest of avoiding “unnecessary words.”

    Consider: in real life, you can hear tenderness in somebody’s voice. It comes through even over a telephone. It is therefore not jarring or intrusive or disrputive for an actual person (as in, not another writer) to see “he said tenderly” in a text… it does not take them out of the scene, and it does not weaken the moment. They are accustomed to being able to tell if a speaker is speaking tenderly, angrily, etc.

    Lacking a precise lexicon for conveying auditory elements in the way that wine afficianados describe each and every note of a wine’s taste, “he said tenderly” is the best way to bring across the fact that the speaker’s voice sounds tender. The BEST, no modifier necessary. You want to cut unnecessary words? Any other word you use is by definition unnecessary, when you’ve got one single word that does the job.

    Now, if the scene happens to call for the speaker to be tracing the other character’s face, or gazing wistfully, or whatever, then it may become unnecessary to the point of redundancy to quantify the voice at all… but if you’re adding business to the scene for no other reason than to bring that across, that’s the very definition of “unnecessary words.”

    Yes, it can be a fun challenge to convey something like that… but you shouldn’t be writing every scene as a “challenge.” That’s the mark of a writer writing to impress other writers.

    I don’t expect to really sway anybody’s opinion here, so I’m going to endeavor to leave this as my say on the subject.

  • http://www.alexandraerin.com Alexandra Erin

    Re: Slush pile vs. Steinbeck.

    Or forget the slush pile and give them Steinbeck and Nora Roberts, and they’re likely to say that Roberts is better… and not be able to explain why the writers, editors, and critics fell dead of apoplexy. They’ll be able to tell you plenty of reasons why the book they picked was better.

    They’ll just be “wrong” about it.

    Sure, I have an appreciation for literature (though I’d be quick to point out that much of what we now think of as literature was the pulp fiction of its day… Shakespeare, Dickens, and Dumas all wrote for the masses), but I find the whole “the readers don’t know better” idea to be distasteful on its face and venomous at its core.

  • http://nomananisland.wordpress.com Gavin Williams

    I think Bill, Alexandra and I have just said kind of the same thing — that there are appropriate times and places to use any word, and the key rule is to find the best way to say something, without unnecessary words.

    But I’m a reader. And I can tell you precisely when adverbs are being over-used, and when they’re useful. I can tell the difference between good writing and slush. I loved books so much that I was an English major and then I tried to write my own book.

    (as a sidenote, I can’t analyze my own text as a reader, because to me it conveys the picture I have in my head — I haven’t yet developed the ability to discern if other readers will see the same picture, so I’m sure that I have unnecessary words in some places, and lack words in other places. That’s why I say I’m still a reader, and not a writer)

    I think you’re not giving readers enough credit there, and I also think that readers are forgiving, if the story and characters are worth it. That’s why Grisham has a large audience, and why Danielle Steele has best-sellers (I think she tells far more than she shows, and yet she still gets published).

    Grisham and Steele will never (I think) win Pulitzers or Nobel prizes in literature. But they can convey to their readers a story that appeals. And there are readers that know full well that they’re making mistakes, and enjoy it anyway. I don’t have any fondness for Ms. Steele, but sometimes I like Grisham. However, I can also read Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Goulding, Salinger and Tolkien, and describe the differences in their styles and the effectiveness of each.

    And that’s from being a lifelong reader, not a writer.

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    Or forget the slush pile and give them Steinbeck and Nora Roberts

    Oh, Erin, I can just imagine that! =)

    @Gavin: I’ve to agree with you readers are quite forgiving in the presence of an engrossing story. My sister, who has NOT penned a story other than the necessary high school essays, wrings her hands and says “It’s okay” or “It sucked” after reading a book.

    And that’s all she says.

    I kinda like that simplicity. Imagine reviews like that, written by the average joe.

  • http://www.billhilton.biz/blog Bill Hilton

    For some reason the notifications of all your comments following on from my last one have just landed in my inbox all at once. I think we’re really in broad agreement, although I’d still contend that it’s better to ‘show than tell’ when it comes to describing characters.

    @Lexy: Eli is right: although theatre is a visual medium, characterisation works in the same way as it does in a novel. We judge characters primarily by what they say and do. I’m not an anti-adverb extremist, but if I found myself writing “‘kill her,’ he said, coldly'” I’d ask myself why I needed the ‘coldly’, and why I can’t trust the reader to paint their own picture in their own imagination.

    “‘Kill him,’ he said, tenderly” is different. The adverb could work there because it’s telling us something we don’t expect. On the other hand, if mishandled it could look like an affectation.

    You’re right that readers don’t complain about an excess of adverbiage. They complain about dullness and lack of readability, though – which are often the result of sloppy writing in which unnecessary adverbs are overused.

    By the way, in the interests of precision, we need to remember that we’re talking about ‘-ly’ adverbs here, not adverbs in general.

    Gavin wrote: “I think Bill, Alexandra and I have just said kind of the same thing — that there are appropriate times and places to use any word, and the key rule is to find the best way to say something, without unnecessary words.”

    100% dead right.

    I also agree with Lexy that new writers shouldn’t be taught to avoid ‘-ly’ adverbs. But it’s legitimate to teach them that when writing is clumsy or verbose ‘-ly’ adverbs are often among the major culprits. therefore, whenever they feel the need to use one they should think carefully about it.

    I can’t believe what a geek I am, you know.

  • http://nomananisland.wordpress.com Gavin Williams

    I’m a total geek too, because I keep coming back. We all agree that the real rule to go by is what conveys the message best, and sometimes that means adverbs. Moderation is key.

    But, just because I like pointing it out, when I’m writing I’m thinking like a film director. There are a million ways to act in this scene, but the way you act determines how your character is viewed. If you write:

    “Kill her,” he said tenderly – you get a killer who perhaps thinks it’s for her own good, or perhaps (depending on the details) the act of killing is like love-making in his mind – he’s twisted.

    “Kill her,” he said coldly – removes all emotion from his voice, he’s killing a thing and not a person.

    “Kill her,” he snarled, and he’s animalistic, brutal.

    etc. etc.

    You can show all those things in behaviour as well (a caress, a flat expression, a furious flurry of activity involving a claw hammer…) but if you, as the director of the scene, want the character’s tone of voice to be heard, you accomplished that with “tenderly, coldly.”

    If you don’t want to convey tone, you just leave it out. It’s that simple, what nuances do you think you need? Sometimes, I really like tones of voice because it’s part of the movie I see in my head when I’m writing.

  • http://www.alexandraerin.com Alexandra Erin

    My issue isn’t with coaching people not to overuse adverbs in their most common form, it’s the way they’re focused on and emphasized: advice like “beware adverbs” might sound neutral if you think it through and consider that “beware” means nothing more than “be aware/wary of”, except that for all practical points “beware” has come to mean “you go past this point and you is gonna die”… or in shorter terms, “DON’T.”

    “Why Adverbs Suck” has the same problem as “beware adverbs”, though it requires less explanation.

    If even the people who recognize that adverbs have their uses in moderation are phrasing their advice in this way… well, like I said. Each successive iteration just takes it further and in the end we’ve got people going to a ridiculous extreme trying to avoid “bad writing” because they had a rule beaten into them instead of learning how to apply good judgment.

  • http://www.billhilton.biz/blog Bill Hilton

    @Lexy

    A very fair point. When I was a secondary (US: high) school teacher I had endless problems with kids who came from primary (US: elementary) schools where they’d been taught they should never begin a sentence with “and” or “but”.

    When I told them that they could – as long as they didn’t overuse the effect to the point where it became annoying – they’d just tell me that ‘Mrs Smith said we should never…’

    Students shouldn’t be told NOT to use ‘-ly’ adverbs or NOT to begin a sentence with a conjunction (or end one with a preposition), but the point needs to be made to them that these words and effects can cause problems if used carelessly.

    The key thing to teach anyone about writing is that it’s vital to THINK about what they put down on paper. Writing is a process of making choices – and they shouldn’t be made blindly.

  • becky otero

    Thanks for the insight. This knowledge forces the writer to use imagination instead of memory.
    Who would have thunk my extensive vocabulary is more of a hindrance than an asset, when it comes to the use of adverbs.
    Happy New Year to all!

  • Binky Barnes

    “Good writers use them sparingly.”

    Fitting way to close the article.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Huckleberry-Muckleroy/1069284514 Huckleberry Muckleroy

    In “Ask yourself this question: “Is this adverb absolutely necessary?”, “absolutely” is not absolutely necessary, nor is it necessary.

  • http://slrman.wordpress.com/ James Smith

    While you are advising others, be aware that “impact” is a verb, not a noun. The word you want is “affect” or “effect” depending upon usage.

    “The meteor impact shook the mountain. Its effect was to destroy plant and animal life over a wide area. That will affect the ecology of the area for decades.”

  • Graham Freeman

    “The use of slowly cannot be replaced or expanded upon”. Of course it bloody can.

    Ceri stood up, taking his time due to the mild headache.