In honor of back to school season, ABC aired a special ranking the best episodes of Schoolhouse Rock of all time. I’ve shared my affection for Schoolhouse Rock before, and I am happy to report that my personal favorite, “Conjuction Junction” took the number 1 spot! Another one of my favorites, which also claimed a spot on the countdown, is “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here” about a family-run business selling adverbs. “Lolly, Lolly” has inspired the subject of this week’s Grammar Hammer.
Adverbs modify other words such as:
- A verb
- An adjective
- Another adverb
Adverbs will tell you how, where, when, in what manner, or to what extent an action should be performed. The easiest adverbs to identify are the ones that end in –ly, but just because a word ends in –ly, it’s not necessarily an adverb. Also, not all adverbs end in –ly, and there are adverbial phrases that don’t end in –ly. Back into the grammatical minefield we go!
My biggest tip for using adverbs in writing is to consider whether or not you need them. Very popular adverbs like “really,” “very,” “quite,” “extremely,” and “severely” are intended as intensifiers. Consider whether or not what you’re trying to communicate needs to be intensified.
For example, saying “The house was severely destroyed by the fire,” doesn’t add anything to the prose. The house was destroyed by fire. Saying it was severely destroyed invokes more emotion, but is it necessary to what you’re trying to say?
Grammar Hammer, at your service… indubitably.
Have a grammar rule you’d like me to explore? Drop me a line at email@example.com.
Author Catherine Spicer is a manager of customer content services at PR Newswire.