Revision Tip #12

Evaluate every adverb in your story.

Can any of them be removed by using a stronger verb?

Make it so.

6 Replies to “Revision Tip #12”

  1. this is a -very- good tip, IMHO as a translator. (because adverbs in English can be bitches to translate, hah. verbs are a bit easier for me)

  2. Oooo GREAT tip! I simply adore adverbs!!! Wait. I adore adverbs! What’s the big deal? Why are they so hated? Even when I talk I want to tell you the degree to which I am mad, happy, sad.

    This rule always baffles me. See! I did it again.


  3. Revision Tip #12

    When I taught fourth grade, I worked with my kids to clear the adjectives and adverbs from their writing. Man, their work improved! Then, I discovered that the class across the hall was scoring much higher on the NJ state writing test. I asked to see some of their work. You guessed it: loaded with adjectives and adverbs: “The sweet, pink, gooey, yummy frosting slipped slowly and lusciously through my hungry lips.”

    So I sat my kids down and told them the terrible truth. There is good writing and there is standardized test writing. “Why?” they asked. Then I asked them (and didn’t get fired because the principal never heard about it), “How many of you hope someday to get a job reading fourth grade writing samples all day every day?” They laughed. I asked, “How much do you think that good adult writers want to spend their days reading fourth grade writing samples?” They laughed again.

    So, for one solid month before the tests, we all practiced writing awful stuff. Someone would share a piece, and we’d say, “Can’t you throw on an adjective here…or there?” Guess what? Their scores went way up. Sigh.

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