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Adverbs: Use and abuse in writing
Episode 2217th July 2019 • The Editing Podcast • Louise Harnby (fiction editor) and Denise Cowle (non-fiction editor)
00:00:00 00:12:22

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Denise and Louise talk about adverbs, and how to use or remove them purposefully.

Listen to find out more about:

  • What Stephen King said about adverbs
  • Adverb use versus adverb abuse
  • Definition of an adverb with examples
  • Definition of an adverbial phrase with examples
  • Adverb red flag #1: the double tell in narrative
  • Adverb red flag #2: the double tell in dialogue
  • Adverb red flag #3: the double tell in dialogue tags
  • Fixes: using stronger verbs and strengthening dialogue
  • Why adverbial phrases don’t solve the problem
  • Extent of overuse

Editing bites

  • How to Write Dazzling Dialogue by James Scott Bell
  • Oxford Guide to Plain English by Martin Cutts

Other resources

  • Stephen King on Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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Denise and Louise

  • Denise Cowle Editorial Services:
  • Louise Harnby | Fiction Editor:

Music credit

‘Vivacity’ Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License




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