I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops

dandelions

By the time you see them for the weeds they really are, it's too late

Consider the sentence He closed the door firmly. It’s by no means a terrible sentence (at least it’s got an active verb going for it), but ask yourself if firmly really belongs there. You can argue that it expresses a degree of difference between He closed the door and He slammed the door, and you’ll get no argument from me… but what about context? What about all the enlightening (not to say emotionally moving) prose which came before He closed the door firmly? Shouldn’t this tell us how he closed the door? And if the foregoing prose does tell us, isn’t firmly an extra word? Isn’t it redundant?

Someone out there now is accusing me of being tiresome and anal-retentive. I deny it. I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day, fifty the day after that… and then, my bothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s – GASP!! – too late.

by Stephen King (born September 21, 1947)
from On Writing
image – Leo-setä

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