Of course adverbs can be overused, but the common advice to never use them at all is misguided.
The road to hell is paved with adverbs, so says Stephen King. And, who am I to argue with Mr. King.
In Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams’ character, John Keating, forbids his students to use the word very (the most heinously bland and meaningless modifier of them all), “… because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose.”
The case against adverbs is a strong one, with revered authors from every era and genre giving impassioned testimony against this eternal enemy of good writing:
- “Adverbs are another indication of writing failure. Exactly the right verb can eliminate the need for the adverb.” William Sloane
- “Omit needless words. Watch for adverbs that merely repeat…
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