Adverbs are words that modify or describe one of the three below:
- Verb: Tom run badly in the try out.
- Adjective: Tom is very tall.
- Another verb: She ate her food too quickly.
An easy way to spot adverb is to look for word that ends in -ly.
But why should we avoid writing adverb?
In short, writing with adverbs gives the impression of weak writing.
Stephen King famously said, "The adverb is not your friend... like passive voice, they seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind".
Let's look at a few examples.
Tom is very tall.
While there's nothing wrong with the sentence grammatically, a more assertive way to write it is: Tom is a giant.
let's take another one:
Tom runs badly in the try out > Tom fall short in the try out.
She ate her food too quickly > She gobbled her food.
In many cases, we can replace adverbs with stronger words, or phrases that describe it more succinctly.
So the next time you edit your sentence or essay, highlight those adverbs, words that end with -ly, or too, very etc, and brainstorm ways to replace them with better words.