Welcome to the latest edition of Copyediting with Keli.
In this session, I discuss lesser-known adverbs we can avoid in our writing.
Here’s a recap of what I covered in the vlog:
When you think of adverbs, which ones come to mind?
For many of us, it’s those ending in -ly.
Another group of adverbs sneaks into my work. These are prepositions taking the role of an adverb. A fancy description is adverbial particle.
Examples of adverbial particles are: above and below, in and out, off and on, up and down. What transforms these words from preposition to adverb is the lack of a noun serving as the object of the preposition.
The two adverbial particles that creep into my writing most often are up and down.
Here’s an example of a sentence using up.
His betrothed entered the room, and the smitten gentleman stood up.
In this case, up isn’t necessary. We know the besotted fellow is standing up, so we can leave out the word and tighten our writing.
His betrothed entered the room, and the smitten gentleman stood.
Here’s an example using down.
The little lost girl burst into tears, and the police officer knelt down to comfort her.
Down isn’t necessary. We know the kindly officer knelt down, so we can omit the word.
Using up and down as I did in the examples isn’t incorrect, but since I tend to produce words aplenty, I look for places where I can put my prose on a diet in order to tighten my writing. Eliminating unnecessary adverbial particles is one way I reduce my word count.
Being a writer, at least a wordy one like me, does have its ups and downs at times. But now, you’ll be able to trim unnecessary words if you choose to use this tip.