Adverbs are an essential part of a writer's toolbox. Although they shouldn't be overused, they can often convey specific details that other parts of speech cannot. The proper use of adverbs can help your speech or writing stand out. In fact, good use of adverbs will strengthen your writing and make you sound like you're worth listening to.
An adverb is a word used to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs are like the seasoning in sentences. They help describe how things appear and how things happen. They help a reader see an action in his mind's eye.
So, adverbs help you control what others see when you speak or write and are one of the necessary components to good writing. When used correctly, they can add a whole new dimension to your work.
While many adverbs end in the suffix -ly, don't think that all adverbs end in -ly, or that all words that end in -ly are adverbs. In addition to this list of adverbs to strengthen your writing, you can view and download our PDF list of 100 adverbs below to see lots more commonly used adverbs with and without the -ly ending.
It's easy to say that the quick brown fox jumped over a lazy brown dog, but how did he do it? That's the thing everyone is dying to know. A strong verb can often stand on its own, but adverbs can strengthen and color verbs to add a sense of verisimilitude to any sentence.
Written words should paint a picture in the reader's mind, and adverbs help make that happen. Adverbs add oomph to punches and power to kicks. Having a handy list of adverbs to call on will add a degree of energy and spice to your verbiage.
When adverbs modify verbs, they describe the way something is happening. In these examples the adverb is in bold and the verb in italics:
How tired were you? How ugly was it? Readers and audiences beg for the answers to such questions. Adverbs give them those answers, adding more information to an adjective, while lending intensity to writing and speech. In these examples the adverb is in bold and the adjective in italics:
Sometimes even adverbs need help. When you want to bring attention to a level of rapidity or to a degree of languidness, you need an adverb to describe another adverb. When you want to describe one adverb with another, just put them next to one another.
In these examples the modifying adverb is in bold and the main adverb in italics:
You can find even more useful adverbs to use in your speech and writing on our adverbs list, which offers definitions and online flashcards.
Overuse of adverbs is the mark of an abecedarian writer. When you use adverbs too much, the opposite effect is achieved. Readers become annoyed and bored rather than enthralled or excited.
Bestselling American author Stephen King is known for cautioning aspiring writers to use adverbs sparingly. He once compared using adverbs to having dandelions in your yard. One on your lawn looks pretty and unique, but the weeds can easily overtake the lawn if they're not rooted out.
The trick is to only use adverbs when they're needed most. When you use adverbs too often, it betrays a lack of good verbs and a gap in ability when it comes to adverbs. With practice, you can manage just the right mixture of both.