Totally, Carelessly, Truly, Madly, Deeply Considering Adverbs

After seeing a year-end summary that expressed concern about the “national depletion of indignation through the careless overuse of adverbs,” I conducted one of my unscientific reviews of internet opinion on the subject of adverb usage. Having read several articles and tomes about writing practice, I have certainly (uh,oh) heard the criticism of writing that relies too heavily (oops) on adverbs to describe action. According to one articleStephen King apparently (shoot!) once said  “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Completely, I assume. There is a current fashion for using the word “actually” way too often to be considered as well. I have even caught this little interloper creeping into my own technical writing at work without adding anything useful to the statements being made (other than upping the word count). Actually, the prevailing wisdom of the moment (I mean the few minutes I spent hurriedly [well, it’s true] “researching” this post) is less harsh than the “zero tolerance” advice one got in the past about adverb use and more along the lines of “all things in moderation.” Naturally. Just be careful out there with your loaded adverbs.


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