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Adverbs are the worst - too many adverbs spoil the soup

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 23, 2010   #1
Our newest contributor, Ryan, and I have been talking about the way too many modifiers (adjectives and adverbs) can spoil the soup. In fact, isn't that an old adage? Too many adverbs spoil the soup. (Adverbs are the worst). I think I heard that expression somewhere.

Anyway, Strunk and White said it, Stephen King agrees, and I am citing those authorities here:
Use modifiers sparingly, because they INHERENTLY violate that writing rule "show, don't tell."

Here are some cool examples:

"There was a God somewhere watching over us" -an experience that changed your life.

University of Florida: The Person Who I Hate(d) the Most (Mr. H)

BOTTOM LINE: Adjectives can be bad if overused, and adverbs are almost always bad! If anyone can show me a sentence with an adverb that would not be better off without the adverb, I'll give you a virtual five bucks. (note the word "virtual." That means it is only in my mind that I give you five bucks.)
RyanVi16 12 / 91  
Oct 23, 2010   #2
Haha, yessir.
My writing style is just too Vietnamese (like literally that's how I would write it in Vietnamese). I guess now is the time for me to fix that. Well, the good news is I don't have too much problem with adverbs since I hate them too, but it gonna take a while for me to live without adjectives.
tarantellajen 2 / 21  
Oct 24, 2010   #3
Ahhh...This is new to me but I better understand all this adverb hating now. Thanks :)
OP EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Oct 27, 2010   #4
Ha ha, well, keep in mind that an essay about the terribleness of adverbs would be one with an "arguable thesis statement." That means not everybody would agree. Some very interestingly enthusiastic people would quickly and decisively disagree and say adverbs are in fact just as undeniably valid as any other part of speech.

And I would say, "Yes, but they clutter up out sentences!" Adverbs and adjectives are like empty calories.

*translation of bad sentence: Some people would disagree and say adverbs are as valid as any other part of speech. See how much nicer that is to read?? :-)
tarantellajen 2 / 21  
Oct 27, 2010   #5
Yes, everything is arguable. I agree with them that adverbs are positively, undeniably valid. Things that are lawful though aren't always good for you, (paraphrasing a biblical idea).

"Adverbs and adjectives are like empty calories." Are they really so "empty?"
eastspringkim 3 / 7  
Oct 28, 2010   #6
To be honest, as a foreigner, using adverb and adjective properly is horrible.
At first, it was just words that decorate something, but as time passes by
it's become the hardest part. It's not that easy.
OP EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Jan 27, 2011   #7
I agree with them that adverbs are positively, undeniably valid.

Yep, the adverb is valid as a part of speech. I just dislike him as a person. Adverbs are horrible people.

:-) And yeah, empty calories, that is a perfect way to express it!
niesaysi 16 / 290 85  
Aug 18, 2011   #8

PLEASE help me to understand if an adverb can be in a position between a linking verb and a main verb. It is quite confusing for me in times I will construct a sentence.

There was someone told me that placing adverb in that manner might be evaded.
To be more explicit, there are some examples below.

1.I was usually tried to oppose him.
2.Shewas early became an orphan.
3.My motherwasfrequentlyscolding me.

Is it one of the standard rule in sentence pattern?
Gladys1620 2 / 6  
Aug 19, 2011   #9
well, I'm not sure if I'm right nor I'm sure about the rule, but the sentences does sound a bit awkward...

how about...
1) i usually tired to oppose him.
2) she became an orphan at an early age.
3) my mother frequently scolds me.

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