Hi, I'm Ray Evans. I'm a certified copyeditor and proofreader.
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Ah, the alluring allure of adjectives and adverbs - like toppings on a pizza or accessories on a
celebrity! They’re as necessary as underwear, yet sometimes, just as uncomfortable. But don't fret, my
literary lovelies, for today we embark on a journey to master these pesky word ninjas and add some
pizzazz to your prose!
First, let's define our posse of parts of speech. Adjectives: those descriptive divas that modify nouns,
making them more specific and snazzy. Adverbs: the sneaky sidekicks that tweak verbs, adjectives, or
even other adverbs, adding nuance like a well-placed scarf or a sassy fedora.
But beware! When unleashed without restraint, these rascals can quickly turn a sleek, simple
sentence into a Mardi Gras parade of verbosity. So, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of curating your very
own adjective and adverb wardrobe. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
Choose Wisely, Young Grasshopper
Just like your outfits (well, most of them), not all adjectives and adverbs are created equal. Aim for the
ones that pack a punch - the little black dress or the tailored suit of the word world. Seek specificity
and steer clear of fluff. Instead of "very big," go for "colossal" or "immense." Give the reader an HD
image, not a pixelated Polaroid from the 80s.
Less Is More,
In writing, as in life, moderation is key. Nobody likes a showoff who slaps on a gallon of cologne or
flaunts enough bling to blind a bat. In the same vein, don’t overload your prose with adjectives and
adverbs. The goal is to complement and enhance, not drown your writing in a sea of superfluous
Show, Don't Tell (But Sometimes, Do Tell)
"Show, don't tell" is the mantra of every writer worth their salt (and those aspiring to be worth it). Use
adjectives and adverbs to create a cinematic experience for your reader. Don't tell them the character
is sad; show them by describing the tear-streaked cheeks, the trembling lips, or the shattered
porcelain of their once-pristine poker face. But remember, sometimes the best option is to embrace
simplicity and let the verb do the heavy lifting. If your character "sprints," we can infer they’re moving
quickly, no "furiously" or "rapidly" needed.
Beware the Dastardly Double Negative
"Non" and "dis" might be tiny, but they can wreak havoc like a toddler with a marker. When using
adjectives and adverbs, don’t turn a positive into a negative, and then back into a positive. It's like
wearing stripes and polka dots together – it's just not right. "Unravel" instead of "not entangle," for
example, will save your readers from a linguistic rollercoaster.
So there you have it,
So, there you have it, my adoring adjective aficionados and audacious adverb admirers! By choosing
wisely, practicing restraint, showing (and sometimes telling), and avoiding those dastardly double
negatives, your writing will positively sparkle like a disco ball of delight. And remember, as you
sashay down the literary runway, a well-placed adjective or adverb can make all the difference.