What’s wrong with adverbs?

stopI recognize the need to have some sort of regulations that keep us from hurting each other. Stop signs.  A nuisance but okay, the basic idea behind them does make sense. And unlike many of my fellow Texans, I even get the idea behind letting the greater collective regulate what kinds of deadly weapons I am entitled to own and which ones if any I get to carry on my person. Got it.  We have to have some rules.

I have more of a problem with those who try to regulate my behavior for my own protection.  Seat belts? Barely a grey area if you ask me …..  Buying milk that hasn’t been pasteurized? Come on, that’s totally my choice.

And when folks step in to try to modify my behavior to suit their sense of style? Well, in my opinion they have clearly crossed a line. I respond angrily. Defiantly. Perhaps unreasonably. In fact, a few dozen more choice adverbs come readily to mind.

This is because adverbs themselves have recently come under the disdain of the fashion police of the writing world. “They have fallen out of favor” advises one author’s website. In other words, don’t use them. Says who? Admittedly, overuse of any type of word makes ones writing repetitious and repetitive 🙂 but why does an entire class of descriptive words get banished in order to suit some group’s whim?

I can’t run quickly in the rain? Talk loudly in the library? Scream vigorously when I am frustrated?

wiineThis reminds me of whoever decreed that there should be no white shoes after labor day, no colored corduroy pants on adults and no red wine drunk with fish. Who makes up this crap? And why do we have such a tendency as a species to comply with arbitrary rules that involve neither safety nor courtesy?

Don’t walk under a ladder. Don’t step on a crack. And certainly don’t step fretfully on a crack, or walk under that ladder while giggling hysterically.

This is ridiculous. Labor day has come and gone and I’m going out for lunch tomorrow. I’m wearing white sandals, red corduroy pants, and I’m drinking a nice pinot noir with my fish. And I’m going to do it all joyfully.

6 thoughts on “What’s wrong with adverbs?

  1. I actually blogged about the plight of the much maligned adverb yesterday, inspired to do so when I received an e-mail from an editor telling me that my use of adverbs were disturbing and that he despised them. (In a story of just under 2,000 words, I used seven adverbs.) I’m glad to find a fellow adverb advocate!

    • Thanks Miranda. I was inspired to post about adverbs after reading the advice to avoid them completely on an authors website. Sounds like we were on the same page at the same time. I posted a comment on your blog about it too — and started my post off with a typo. (How embarrassing). Please make the “I” an “A” if you would. Thanks for reaching out. Good luck with all of your writing.

      • I do find the current trend of bashing adverbs to be very disturbing, and I’m happy to know I’m not the only writer choosing not to follow it. No need to be embarrassed–typos are a part of life, and I fixed it for you. 😉 Best of luck to you with your writing journey, and I look forward to reading more about it!

  2. Pingback: What’s wrong with adverbs? | 46. Ascending

    • Nice to know. Adverbs can be very useful when one needs to convey something quickly 🙂 I’ve been told that creative writing classes here now teach aspiring writers not to use them at all. Go Australia!

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