Adverbs are words that normally end in an ly and should usually be avoided when possible. I used two ly words in the last sentence; nobody can avoid them all. Many new writers delete all of their ly words but don’t use a stronger verb in its place. The reason to delete ly words is because stronger verbs can replace them. Here’s a list of a few strong verbs you can use to replace your weaker verbs and adverbs.
slowly walked – sauntered, strolled, loped, moseyed, wandered, meandered
quickly walked – strode, darted, rushed, treaded, marched, advanced
angrily looked – glowered, glared
longingly looked – gaped, ogled, stared
quickly looked – glanced
loudly talked – shouted, bellowed
softly talked – whispered, mumbled
sat slowly – perched, rested, settled
sat quickly or angrily or clumsily – plopped, plodded
Whenever you see an ly word, look up the verb it describes in the thesaurus, and see if you can find a stronger verb to convey the same thing without the adverb.
This is such an important subject. It’s amazing how much more vivid our writing becomes when we concentrate on strong verbs. Not that adverbs don’t have their place, of course – but that place needs to be a very small ratio of the overall most of the time.
i love it
remember me i still love it
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I think you have to be very careful to ensure that the word you substitute for the adverb actually conveys the same meaning. In many examples I’ve seen, it doesn’t and the writing is the poorer for it.
I agree. Word choice should be deliberate. While this is a guide to follow, sometimes the best word choice is an adverb.
Thanks! This is a great list…