Tuesday, May 18, 2010


They tell us not to use -ly adverbs when we write.

I can understand that rule when it comes to phrases like, she yelled loudly or he hurried quickly. In those cases, the adverbs are useless. Redundant.

But then again, some adverbs aren't unneeded repetitions.

The other night when my husband read aloud to the children, I heard the line, she glanced up at him inquiringly, and a perfect image of her face, her posture, even the way she moved, came into my head! All from one powerful little word, inquiringly.

If the author had cut out the adverb, written only she glanced up, then it wouldn't have given me such a clear, strong image. The author could have danced around the adverb and written, she glanced up at him with questions in her eyes. But that uses more words. And draws more attention to her eyes. I don't see the whole picture anymore.

English is a marvelous language. I like using all kinds of words when I write. Just because adverbs are often misused doesn't mean we shouldn't use them at all. If we learn to use them graciously, then I believe they can add a lot of meaning.



  1. So true! All the writing rules have exceptions and this is a wonderful example.


  2. Ugh... Rules rules rules... Just like we left the 70s behind and here we are wearing bootcut jeans, and how fashion recycles itself, will writing rules recycle, too????

    Great post, Rebecca!! ((hugs))



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