Unchain the Adverbs!

What an odd time to be alive. Nuance is lost. Critical thinking is scorned. Writers aren’t allowed to use words…

“No!” he shouted.

“No,” he said angrily.


Okay, so I wouldn’t have used “angrily,” but sometimes only an adverb will do. They exist for reason. If they’re redundant or unnecessary, I avoid them. Duh.

Anyway, these “rules” are not rules at all and change constantly.

The “said” issue has flip-flopped two or three times during my adult life. It’s much like the way you’ll turn on the news and hear “Studies suggest Red wine is bad for you” and that becomes the narrative for a few years until “studies suggest” that it’s beneficial in moderation.

Don’t get too comfy, though, because studies will eventually suggest that it’s harmful again. Butter, eggs, red meat, they all get flip-flopped every couple of years. Remember when pork was touted as “the other white meat?” The idea being that it was a healthy alternative to beef, like chicken. It soon became vilified again, only to come roaring back a couple of years later once “studies suggested” it was good. Lol. Don’t people remember anything?

Guess what? When I worried about what “they” decided was the “correct” way to write, I didn’t write anything. Now that I’ve decided to do whatever I like, I write constantly.

Is it good, though? There is no definitive answer to that question. There’s only one person on Earth I care about pleasing with my writing, and that’s yours truly. I’m thrilled and flattered when others enjoy it, but if I’m forced to choose between a tasty adverb that adds flavor to the story or catering to their trendy hang-ups, I’ll choose the adverb.

Yeah, I get the inadvisability of using them when verb and context are already on the scene and taking care of business, but adverbs do have a place. The classics are chock full of ’em. Unchain those adverbs!



  1. I, for one, LOVE your writing and to be honest I don’t keep track of what is “acceptable” or not anymore. I’m old school and I’ll remain that way, I suspect, until the end. I guess I’m one of those “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it”’people. Unapologetically. You know what I hate? Text-speak. No punctuation. Improper spelling (which I do actually use occasionally mockingly or sarcastically).

  2. Oh I’m definitely a fan of texting versus phone calls (which I despise)… no, what I mean is “writing” in text speak. “Poetry” written as such. Or comments as such. Using the old form when we only had so many characters per text. Such as:

    u instead of you (ex: I love u)
    k instead of okay

    That sort of thing.

  3. The hate for adverbs is ridiculous. That being said, when I assess my own writing honestly, most of the adverbs I put in do turn out to be unnecessary. That doesn’t mean adverbs are always bad in all situations, though.

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