Adjectives and Adverbs- Friends or Foes?

Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with overusing adverbs and adjectives; at least that’s what I’ve been hearing from my writing group.  The first few times someone mentioned it, I thought, oh I must have used too many in this chapter.  But as time has gone by, I’ve realized that I keep getting the same feedback.  This got me thinking, what’s wrong with too many adjectives and adverbs?

I started looking online for the answer to this question, which ended up being so simple, I was surprised I’d had such a hard time figuring it in the first place.  Maybe I’m the only one who has struggled with this problem, but I thought I’d share my conclusions all the same.

The Main Problem: Using an adjective or adverb often means you didn’t use a strong enough verb or noun in the first place.  Bingo.

Secondary Problem: Using too many adjectives and adverbs often “waters down” your sentences and makes them less powerful.


  • Poor Example: The car moved swiftly down the road.
  • Good Example: The car raced down the road.
    • This is an example of how using the right word is more powerful than two good words.
  • Poor Example: The child screamed loudly.
  • Good Example: The child screamed.
    • This is an example of how removing the adverb gives the sentence more power.

I hope this helped anyone who has been struggling with the same problem.  I know I’m excited to start applying this new knowledge to my own writing.

Also, my friend recommended this book to me, so I recently purchased it from Amazon:


About lisamorrowbooks

Lisa Morrow is a life-long reader who treasures fantasy in all forms. Being a middle child in a large family gave her a unique perspective on the world, but few experiences compare to her time spent studying abroad in Cambridge, England and wandering throughout Europe. After her travels, Lisa settled down in Arizona to teach junior high English, and later, to spend time with her young children, husband, and cats. To some people, her life may seem quiet. But to her, every day is spent in a world colored by the imagination of children, and fantastical worlds created by her very own mind.
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