Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Adjectives and Adverbs

When I hear someone say "don't use adjectives or adverbs in your writing," the first thing I want to do is reach for a gun to shoot them. Their advice, for what it is, is, in my opinion, a bunch of BS. Inevitably, they will point to the same lame articles that all repeat the same things: don't do it. Ok, here's an idea...take your dictionary, pick one, Websters, OED, whichever you have on your shelf... Now, grab a sharpie and black-out all the adjectives or adverbs. When you're done, guess what you have? A boring language filled with no descriptions at all. You can vaguely describe something, but not with terms which would make a normal person truly paint the picture in their mind.

Look at this:

He had a steak.
Or,
He had a steak, cooked medium well, seared to perfection.
Which is better? Technically, the first according to all the "expert sources" that would be counted on. But I tell you, and I bet you agree, the second is a far more generous helping and paints a scene far better. That's what writing is all about. So the next time someone tells you the old "don't use adverbs or adjectives" in writing...go ahead and reach for your gun. I do. They deserve it.

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