Don’t Fear the Adverb.

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“You know,” she said thoughtfully, “I’ve never understood this great vendetta against adverbs. I mean, they’re a part of speech, aren’t they?”

“Well, yes,” he responded doubtfully.  “But all the people who know what they’re talking about say they should be avoided at all costs.”

“Balderdash,” she said bluntly. “If they exist, they’re meant to be used. Who are these people who ‘know what they’re talking about,’ anyway? I’ll bet you every single one of them has used an adverb this very day.”

He squirmed uneasily. “You shouldn’t say that…”

“Of course, I don’t think they should be used all the time,” she interjected hastily. “Not the way the weird blogger girl who’s making all this up is doing.” She glanced nastily up at the ceiling. “Although to be fair,” she conceded kindly, “I think she’s probably just doing it to make a point.”

“Bu…but,” he stammered miserably, “I’ve always heard that those things should never be used at all. Let the dialogue speak for itself, and all that.”

“Oh yes, yes,” she waved her hands impatiently. “I’m not arguing against that. I simply thing that there’s a time and a place for…” She broke off and stared incredulously at him. “Those things? You’re so scared of them you can’t even say their name, aren’t you? They’re called adverbs. Come on, say it with me. Adverbs.

He gazed around apprehensively. “Not so loud! We’re in a coffee shop, for heaven’s sake. It’s probably crawling with writers.”

“So what? I’m not afraid.” She opened her arms expansively. “Embrace the whole of your language. Love it.”

“No,” he muttered stubbornly.

“Just this once,” she said encouragingly. “It won’t hurt you, I promise. I’m not even asking you to use any of them. Just say their name. Come on. Say it. Adverb. Adverb. Ad–”

“NO!” He stood up explosively, breathing heavily. “I… I can’t. I’m just not ready to take this step. I’m sorry.”

He walked quickly out, leaving her to stare after him sadly.

“But…” she murmured forlornly, “You were supposed to buy the next round of lattes.”


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