Ory's writing notes: Modifiers part 2, The Adverb.

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The adverb, the most misused word in English. But what is an adverb? An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb.

An adverb answers one of the following questions.

When? (Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow)
Where? (There, here)
How? (Fastly, slowly, beautifully)
How much? (Mostly, partially, completely)

Adverbs can be positioned in a number of positions in a sentence.

At the start of the sentence: Daily, I dance.
At the end of the sentence: I dance with Katie, daily.
After the verb: I dance daily with Katie.
Before the verb: I daily dance with Katie.
Before the helping verb and main verb: I have daily danced with Katie (Sounds a little weird.)

You cannot, however, interrupt an infinitive verb (anything that follows 'to') with any Adverb.

Example: I love to eat often chocolate. (Wrong)

Example: I love to eat chocolate often. (Correct!)

An adverb that modifies an Adjective or another Adverb is called an intensifier. An intensifier usually answers the question 'To what extent?' They must go before the adjective or adverb they are modifying.

Example: The bright (Adverb) blue (Adjective) ball was kicked very (Adverb modifying an Adverb) hard (An adverb modifying the verb.)

Nouns can be used as adverbs; these are called adverbial nouns. I personally have a hard time telling the difference between direct objects and adverbial nouns. The difference is that a direct object receives the action. Adverbial nouns modify the action by answering the questions of:

Where? I walked home.
Where to? I walked east.
How long? I walked four hours.
How far? I walked four miles.
How much? I paid twenty dollars.

Interrogative adverbs ask questions. They are made up of the following words: Why? Where? How? When?

Just like Interrogative pronouns, Interrogative adverbs can be used to join two clauses together. They are called Relative adverbs. I will get deeper into clauses much later.

Example: My father's death was the reason why I came back home.

Conjunctive Adverbs are another type of adverb that joins two clauses together. You have to use a semicolon (;) when you use them. They include Anyway, besides, consequently, finally, furthermore, however, instead, likewise, meanwhile, nevertheless, next, otherwise, specifically, still, subsequently, then, therefore, and thus.

I love grammar; however, I am really bad at it.


In conclusion, that ends all my notes on the Adverb; however, I wanted to go into why a lot of people say don't use adverbs. It is advice that I dole out as well, time to time, but I'd like to expand on what I mean.

Example: He was very angry.

This is a great example of misusing an adverb. Why? Because there is a better word for 'very angry.'

Example: He was enraged.

By taking the time to find a word that means very angry, you have in essence have eliminated 1/4 of the words in your sentence. I overwrite. If I took the time to find better words for what I was describing, I could easily eliminate 20-25% of what I have written and given my story a sharper, quicker feel to it.

However, there is a time where adverbs work miracles. Where? Juxtapositions. This is one of my favorite imagery tools. A Juxtapositions is where you combined two opposing things (words, images, dialogue, etc.) to give the word/image new meaning. When people talk about Dream-like imagery this is one of the tools used to create that effect. Using my above example, I will create a Juxtaposition.

Example: I was happily enraged.

Happily and enraged would normally oppose each other, however by combining the two I've created a Juxtaposition. Also, this should paint a picture of the speaker, as I know people who just LOVE to get pissed off. Sounds odd, doesn't it?

This ends my notes on the Adverb. On the next, and last, part of Modifiers, I will be working through comparisons.
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