Saturday, February 27, 2010

Adverbs are Evil?

Some concepts and claims I see popping up every so often in the writing community just leave me scratching my head in bewilderment. One such idea is that adverbs are a no-no, that adverbs are a sign of weak writing. What the...?

Has everyone forgotten "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here"? Have the rules of writing well degenerated so much since this classic Schoolhouse Rock aired in the 1970s that something once considered necessary ("positively, very, very, necessary") is now considered bad?

I simply don't understand the hatred I see for adverbs in some corners of the writing community. It goes against the way I was taught how to write. It goes against the way I taught my daughter how to write, using the then-current (early 2000s) writing workbooks and textbooks. It goes against the way writers have been writing for centuries. It goes against what looks and feels right to me. If anything, a complete lack of adverbs looks wrong to me.

I get using adverbs only when needed. I get using them sparingly. I get having the strongest and clearest language possible (this should be true of all elements of writing), but I simply don't get the whole concept of "adverbs are bad", or "if you are using an adverb, you must be using a weak verb".

If this is the way of things today, I'm sorry, it's bull crap. Maybe this is why I prefer classic fiction over contemporary fiction. I just don't like the way of things today.

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