As writers, we’re often told to get rid of adverbs. To some extent, I agree with that statement. If we can find a stronger verb, then we should. If we can show the action instead of tell using an adverb, we should. It’ll make our writing stronger. Can you get rid of every adverb? Honestly, I think not, and I don’t think we should try either.
So what are adverbs?
An adverb is a part of speech. It is any word that modifies any part of speech or other verbs other than a noun (modifiers of nouns are primarily adjectives and determiners). Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives (including numbers), clauses, sentences and other adverbs.
Adverbs typically answer questions such as how? (adverbs of manner), in what way? (adverbs of frequency), when? (adverbs of time), where? (adverbs of place), and to what extent? (adverbs of purpose). This function is called the adverbial function, and is realized not just by single words (i.e., adverbs) but by adverbial phrases and adverbial clauses. Side note: In Latin class, we always had to break up a sentence and tell the parts of speech. I remember the adverbial clauses/phrases the best because we had to not only say whether or not it was an adverb but what type. Of course, I was a bit of a know-it-all and corrected the teacher a time or two on them and was known as “Miss Smarty Pants” or “The Genius.” So embarrassing!
Here is a list of common adverbs. It’s a long one that goes on for eight pages, and I’m sure we’ve all used some of them in our writing.
So what are your feelings about adverbs in writing?