Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sunday Writer's Corner - Adverbs

Today on Writer's Corner, I'd like to talk about adverbs. For those of you who aren't sure what an adverb is, here's a handy definition: Adverbs are used to modify verbs. They modify a verb by telling us when, where, in what way, how, or to what extent something is done. Adverbs are also used to modify adjectives and other adverbs. Often the adverb can be spotted by finding words ending in -ly in a sentence.


She answered the question fastest. (to what extent)
He jogged yesterday. (when)
She jogged quickly. (when)
He stopped suddenly. (how)
They were extremely quiet. (in what manner)

But also there are adverbial phrases and clauses:

While I was waiting for Judy, I noticed your dog jump the fence.
I noticed your dog jump the fence while I was waiting for Judy

(Note the placement of the comma. When an adverbial phrase or clause is at the front of the sentence, a comma is needed. When it ends a sentence, no comma is needed.)

In the past no one questioned the use of adverbs and I'm sure you'll find them easily in novels published before 1980. The tendency today is removal of as many adverbs as you can find in your manuscript. I think this is at least partly due to the rising popularity with Deep POV.  But remember, rules are made to be broken, so if you slip and insert an adverb or two in your book, I don't think it will hurt your sales. It is your writing voice after all. Only you can determine which path to take, with or without adverbs. :)

So, did you spot all the adverbs and adverbial clauses and phrases in that last paragraph? Good work!

Until next time—

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