A famous writer once said, “the road to hell is paved with adverbs”. This pronouncement sparked terror in the souls of writers everywhere. One and all scoured through pages and pages of words, searching for the evil ‘ly’, plotting adverb murder and hoping to wipe out their sub-human existence– forever.
Imagine the fear adverbs experienced in that moment—Stephen King, Lord of Words, just signed your death warrant. Go ahead…I’ll wait why you imagine this terrifyingly horrific scenario. *insert slasher-movie music here*
Here’s what I imagine. Screaming adverbs running to and fro, smacking into each other in their desperation to live. In their confusion, they cling to their trademark ‘ly’, not realizing it’s the very thing causing them to become a target. Struck with fear, they watch–helplessly–as the Red Pen of Death and Delete Key stand in judgment above them. They know not if they are worthy to stay, or if their unique contribution to a work of art is somehow contaminating all the other words in the vicinity.
Adverbs are people, too. Their feelings matter. And…might I say…a perfectly-placed adverb can enhance, even lift up, other words around them. It’s not always bad. We shouldn’t label all adverbs as unnecessary just because some rogue adverb popped out of a Stephen King rough draft and gave him the finger. Jeez. Some of them have better manners than that! Maybe that particular adverb wasn’t breastfed, or didn’t receive proper care growing up. Maybe he just needs a hug. Maybe one day he’ll be given a chance to make a woman “strikingly” sexy in a novel (disturbingly bad example, I know), and he’ll come out of his shell, realizing there is no need to fear.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit, adverbs can’t be orgasmic, but they can be heavenly. They can’t be devilish, but they can be dashingly handsome. In fact…amazingly enough, Lovely just realized he’s not the same when he removes overcoat. Without the ‘ly’, he’s just naked Love. Lovely is not comfortable being naked in public…so, he’ll brave on—wearing his ‘ly’ like a super cape, showing off his potential amp up the energy around him. Have you ever been called lovely? It’s kinda awesome and worth the possible snarky comments of all the other words at not being chosen. Besides, they’re just jealous.
So…adverbs of the world…fear not, and be proud. You may be slain, but know this…someone, somewhere will resurrect you from the ashes and place you beside another word someday. And, who knows, maybe you’ll find your adverb soulmate and live happily ever after.