“I hate adverbs,” I said brightly, one day. “So do I,” my wife said cheerfully.
“Especially the ones that are made by adding an –ly ending to an adjective,” I added slowly. “They tell, not show.”
“How do you show, then?” my wife asked quizzically.
“Why,” I said thoughtfully, “by the context of the speech, cues and clues in the choice of wording. Go read Hemingway. He was a master at it. He didn’t even name his speakers, half the time.”
“Like this, you mean?”
“Well, it gets the dialogue out faster.”
“And it makes the reader work for meaning – pulls them into the story. Also you don’t end up with double-ups like a question mark followed by the adverb ‘quizzically’.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Scrabbling for blog content.”
“I knew it. So – you mean too many adverbs spoil the broth?”
“Basically, apart from that terrible mixed metaphor. What’s for dinner?”
“Alphabet soup. And you’re cooking.”
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2014
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