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EXERCISE Replacing Overused Adverbs with Stronger Verbs

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Diana, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. Verbs are action words!

    Adverbs help modify or beef up verbs.

    The TROUBLE with adverbs is that they are often over used and excessive, while not adding anything of value to your post. When you are not careful, you could wind up writing an entire post filled with too many adverbs, and thus have a shoddily written piece of work.

    Like when you see posts filled to the brim with words like, happily, sadly, angrily, quickly, suddenly, usually, really, actually. Words that end in ly are not the only abused adverbs, but they are the most common and easy to spot.

    This exercise is about replacing adverbs with stronger verbs to make a more effective and interesting sentence!

    For Example:
    When he entered the room, Pipa looked at him angrily.

    Looked. That is a verb.

    Angrily is how she looked at him and accents the verb!

    There's nothing wrong with this sentence. But it could be made much more interesting by replacing the verb and adverb combo with stronger words.

    Lets look at a few different replacements!

    When he entered the room, Pipa glared.
    When he entered the room, Pipa scowled.
    When he entered the room, Pipa frowned.
    When he entered the room, Pipa hissed.
    When he entered the room, Pipa growled.
    When he entered the room, Pipa tensed.

    In each of these examples, you know she is looking at him because it is implied by her reaction. The choice of verb both tells you that she is angry AND shows you how she is expressing it.

    You can also replace the verb/adverb combo with several words to construct a more interesting sentence or enhance the scene.

    When he entered the room, Pipa stomped her feet.
    When he entered the room, Pipa tensed in anger.
    When he entered the room, Pipa let out an irritated hiss.
    When he entered the room, Pipa could only stare in silent rage.
    When he entered the room, Pipa flipped him off.
    When he entered the room, Pipa threw down her apron.

    YOUR EXERCISE: Grab your roleplay posts, stories, etc. Look for sentences containing adverbs. See if you can replace those adverbs with stronger verbs.

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  2. 'Lightly', 'a bit', and 'slightly' are also overused, mostly by new role players who are unsure.

    It's ok to say your character had a good belly laugh, or grinned, or yawned so big they were gonna catch flies, or punched someone in a friendly way; when you overuse them it makes it sound like your character is always whispering and half-heartedly doing things. Unless your character is intentionally SUPER SHY please remember to use stronger verbs: it's ok for your character to be more vivacious :)
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