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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Golly Lolly, I love adverbs so very much

     Almost any word ending in -ly is an adverb. They modify/describe verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They "want" to be verbs but aren't. Poor little things.
     Peruse these gorgeous examples:
abruptly; wickedly; lightly; delicately; wittingly; endlessly; eternally; vibrantly; firmly; fruitfully; wearily; smartly; fervently; vainly; financially; willfully; widely; importantly; cheerfully; weirdly; delicately; wrongfully; wholeheartedly; delightfully.
      My most recent writing workshop was a lot like an intervention. Picture me, perched so uncomfortably in the hot seat while the assembled group of well intentioned so-and-so's lavished me with honest appraisals of the toll my words had taken on them. The consensus seemed to be that I am, indeed, an addict, an adverb addict.
     Like any self protecting user, with my own needs and pleasures put first, I both deny and justify my habit. Adamantly.
      Adverbs are lovely. Terribly important. Almost always useful. How can I ever get along without them? How?
      Adverbs can tell four things: Manner (How was it done?), Place, Time, and Degree.

•'John smiled uneasily.' Uneasily shows the manner of how John smiled.

•'I eat dinner here'. Adverbs of place are often confused with nouns. 'Here' tells where he eats dinner.

•'I watered the plant yesterday'. Again, be careful not to confuse adverbs of time with nouns. 'Yesterday' tells when he watered the plant.

•'He is very mean'. 'Very' tells the degree of his meanness.
      I feel very uneasy about the dislike for adverbs shown there. When I was a kid our English teachers taught us that adverbs made our writing more intersting. Even on Saturday mornings my cartoons were interjected with this little diddy that I can still sing;
     Now my writing teachers say adverbs make my writing less interesting. That I need to rehabilitate myself. Repent and reform. Golly, giving up things I love makes me cranky. Very cranky.


  1. Love the comparison as an adverb addict! "Very" funny. Writing critiques are not fun - maybe that's why I stick to journal writing!


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