Inspiration Engagement Pieces 2017-11-08 00:00

Improve Your Writing Tip #1: Favor strong verbs over adverbs

Improve your writing

Adverbs are words that add color to verbs. In the sentence "The barista quickly made a cup of coffee," quickly is the adverb.

Adverbs can be useful. However, they are often just used to support weak verbs. Use strong verbs instead. For example, use "roars" instead of "says loudly," or "meanders" instead of "wanders aimlessly."

Scan your writing for adverbs and ask yourself, "Is there a stronger verb I can use here instead?" Sometimes the answer will be no, but if the answer is yes, use it. Your readers will thank you.

But don't just take our word for it. Writers have recognized the dangers of adverbs for decades. Here are a few of the best quotes on the subject:

You can highlight every adverb in your text with ProWritingAid. Try our writing improvement software. Type or paste your text, then run the Summary or Combo reports to catch those adverbs.

If you want to search in a word processor such as Microsoft Word, you'll find that most adverbs end in -ly. Search for that followed by a space, or you can use ProWritingAid's Add In for Microsoft Word.

Your next writing tip: Improve Your Writing Tip #2: Don't hide your verbs... rejoice in them!

Be confident about grammar

Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.