Write Tighter: Ditch the Adverbs

Adverbs modify verbs, can be overused and clutter your work with unnecessary words; single verbs work better.

One way to identify an adverb is when the word ends in “ly” e.g. lonely, quickly, shortly. Another is the word “very”, used to describe the degree of something e.g. very hot, very cold, very tall, very angry; again, unnecessary filler.

Adverbs state the obvious and do nothing to make the reader more aware of what you try to convey. Very loud is not necessary to describe volume, loud is loud. Try a different word such as boomed or thundered.

If you show instead of tell your story, it will negate the need for many of the adverbs. e.g. you don’t have to say someone was crying, show them with tears pooling at the corners of their eyes; describe how they mop the tears from their face before they blow their nose.

I found a well-written article to this effect so I cannot take full credit for this post. I have paraphrased a lot but to read the entire article go here. I also suggest you subscribe to the newsletter while you are there.

For a comprehensive list of over 1500 adverbs, go here

Here’s to your writing success,


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