Some followers of Islam believe that the Devil created the fly.

If you’re a writer, you can bet the Devil had a hand in creating adverbs, also.

When you’re editing your story, novel, or whatever, something to look at to reduce wordiness is adverbs. Remember, an adverb is supposed to allow us to better describe a verb, and adjective, phrase, or sentence. An easy way to spot them is look for a word ending in -ly. That’s not always true, but it’s a good place to start.

Here’s an example of use one.

I waited for my food. – Let’s look at that. It’s rather dry, and a reader might ask why I even bother writing it. There’s no life to it.

I waited impatiently for my food. – The addition of that word changes the sentence. It goes from dry, to alive. Now a reader starts to get into my mind, and maybe even help them visualize things better. Maybe they form a mental image of yours truly sitting at the counter of a restaurant, watching orders come up, and wondering when mine will.

Adverbs also modify adjectives. The idea is add some intensity to the adjective. Which makes the young lady more attractive?

“She’s an attractive girl.”  Or “She’s a very attractive girl.”

If we’re talking about the same girl, the addition of the one word made her better looking.

Hemingway is famous for telling writers to avoid adverbs, but truth is, you can’t.  They’re a part of speech and they’ll always be there.

The thing we have to pay attention to is, does the adverb add anything to the sentence? If not, get rid of it. If you delete the adverb, and the meaning of the sentence stays the same, then you don’t need it. That or try to find a better word to describe what you were wanting the adverb to do.

Here’s an example:

“She’s a very attractive girl” vs “She’s a gorgeous girl.”

Most useful rule of thumb on adverbs, when in doubt if you should use it or not, don’t.

And once again, someplace, somewhere, my old High School English teacher is laughing.