Monday, August 25, 2008

Adjectives - Love 'Em and Leave 'Em

"Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."

- Mark Twain

"Write with nouns and verbs, not with adjectives and adverbs. The adjective hasn't been built that can pull a weak or inaccurate noun out of a tight place."

- William Strunk, Jr.

Still not convinced that all your carefully selected adjectives weaken the story? I dare you to dig up a that paragraph you slaved over - the one with all the beautiful, flowery, descriptive words. You know the one. Make a copy and remove all the adjectives. Read both - the original and the new. Read them again. Which is stronger?

I don't know what you found, but I usually find the words are stronger when there are fewer of them. If I'm unhappy with the shorter version, I try to figure out what is wrong - and that generally turns out to be an incorrect verb, not a missing adjective.

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