Adverbs of manner Reply

What’s the problem with adverbs of manner? Well, nothing necessarily, but whenever you use one, you should study it closely. There’s an example right there – ‘closely’ is an adverb of manner that’s redundant because to study something already implies giving it close attention.


Video transcript follows below:

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

In our parts of a sentence video, we looked at the sentence ‘Bob angrily shouts at his smelly socks’, in which ‘angrily’ is an adverb that modifies the verb shouts. We could add in another adverb: ‘Bob angrily shouts at his very smelly socks,’ in which very is an adverb modifying the adjective smelly. We could even add in an adverbial modifier to tell us when he does this: Bob angrily shouts at his smelly socks on Tuesdays.

There are also adverbs of place and purpose – adverbs are everywhere, and we couldn’t write very much without them. But I want to focus on one type of adverb – adverbs of manner.

Adverbs of manner tell us how something happened or how someone did something, and they’re easy to spot because they end in LY. For instance, in the sentence about Bob and his socks, our original adverb, ‘angrily’, was an adverb of manner – it tells us how Bob shouted at his socks.

What’s the problem with adverbs of manner? Well, nothing necessarily, but whenever you use one, you should study it closely. There’s an example right there – ‘closely’ is an adverb of manner that’s redundant because to study something already implies giving it close attention.

Here are some other verb phrases in which the adverb is redundant: smile happily, bang loudly, glide smoothly.
Even if an adverb isn’t redundant, there’s a good chance you can avoid using it if you find a stronger verb. For instance, instead of writing ‘she looked closely at’ try ‘she examined.’ ‘He said quietly’ could become ‘he whispered’. ‘She ran quickly’ could become ‘he sprinted.’

A good exercise is to brainstorm verbs for human movement – there are so many that there’s rarely a need to qualify one with an adverb. Try to write as many as you can in two minutes: ran, walk, swaggered, strode. I managed 37 in two minutes, although admittedly one of those was ‘galumphs’. Let us know how many you managed in the comments below.

Thanks for watching and good luck with your writing.

(The thumbnail image for this video uses a photograph by jacsonquerubin. It’s covered by a Creative Commons license and you can find more of his work here)

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