Grammatical gripes

In the classic work, Dante’s Inferno, hell is made up of rings, each one with a punishment more terrible than the last. For example: Cigarette smokers are consigned to the fourth ring, where they will forever have to roll their own because of soaring prices on their favorite filter tips.

“I feel sorry for the much maligned –ly words,” she said wearily. I just got my manuscript back from my editor, and was dismayed to see the number of adverbs which must get the axe. When did we decide that in writing, adverbs belong in the fiery abyss of hell?

I personally have nothing against jauntily, quickly, and quietly, yet I’m sent on a search and destroy mission to eradicate all such offensive language. I get the impression from my editor, that if I use an adverb after dialogue, I open myself to almost certain alien abduction and vigorous probing.

I read a blog recently, in which the writer tackles the “absolute” rules of writing.

Thou shalt not use an adverb

Thou shalt only write what thou knowest

Thou shalt not write unless ye be in a place that serves overpriced coffee

That last one is problematic in that I invariably spend my first five minutes there trying to figure out why the smallest size cup is called a “tall.”

But I digress.

Agents want to see descriptive verbs, so I have little choice but to pull out my Thesaurus and try to decide if saying something loudly should be written as “exclaimed, vented, asserted, spluttered, articulated, growled, or proclaimed.”

So weigh in and let me know what your favorite adverbs are, your least favorite grammatical rule, or what size I should order if I want the largest cup of coffee.