Interestingly, Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt this week asks us to start our post with any adverb that ends in “-ly.” She even offers us bonus points if we end our post in an adverb, as well.
First of all, let’s define the word adverb. “An adverb is a part of speech used to describe a verb, adjective, clause, or another adverb. It simply tells the readers how, where, when, or the degree at which something was done.”
Apparently, the biggest issue with adverbs is that people tend to overuse them. Some say that of all of the parts of speech, adverbs are the most likely to clutter your sentences pointlessly. Therefore, it is often suggested that writers should use adverbs sparingly.
(Hey wait. Aren’t “apparently,” pointlessly,” and “sparingly” adverbs? Oh crap. I just cluttered up my last paragraph by using three adverbs in just three sentences.)
I remember reading Stephen King’s book, On Writing, where he goes on and on about how he feels about adverbs. I was surprised by his strong feelings. He admonishes writers to minimize, if not eliminate, their use of adverbs by suggesting that “adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind.”
King famously wrote:
“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day…fifty the day after that…and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s — GASP!! — too late.”
Personally, I think Stephen King overuses ellipses…as do I.
I have nothing against adverbs. I don’t use them often, but I do use them in my writing. And I don’t think of myself as a timid writer.
But I’m not a best-selling author, like Stephen King. In fact, I’m not an author at all. I’m not even sure I’d call myself a writer. I’m just a blogger who writes posts on my personal blog.
So, as the old song goes, it’s my blog and I’ll adverb if I want to, despite how Stephen King feels.
And now I need to end my post with an adverb ending in “-ly” in order to earn my bonus points. I will write my last sentence excitedly.