TIPS FROM TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD MARKETING: Adversarial Adverbs by Author Proofreader Jo E. Pinto

TIPS FROM TELL-IT-TO-THE-WORLD MARKETING: Adversarial Adverbs by Author Proofreader Jo E. Pinto

Here at Tell-It-To-The-World Marketing, where we support talented authors, as well as successful business owners in their marketing, by marrying social media, with more traditional approaches,

the goal is to help the client market their Book, Blog, or Business to the very best of their ability.

One of the best ways for me to do this, is to share tips with my clients, so that they can define the services I provide them, to better meet their needs.

This morning, Author Proofreader, Jo E. Pinto shares some tips guaranteed to help writers with that nasty nemesis the adverb.

I must say Jo’s posts on the various aspects of writing such as the use of commas, (see Commas Are Not Raindrops) and apostrophes (From The Impossible Apostrophe) have been quite helpful and I find today’s advice about adverbs to be so as well.

Please be sure to keep reading after Jo’s column to learn about her book, The Bright Side of Darkness. Who’s Characters you’ll meet as you read her offering today.



Adversarial Adverbs

by J. E. Pinto


When I began blogging about punctuation marks and parts of speech, I was immediately asked to write a piece about “those nasty adverbs.” Although at first these descriptive words seem fairly straightforward, there’s more to them than meets the eye. They can clutter up your writing when overused. But if scattered sparingly throughout your work, adverbs can add valuable insight to your sentences and paragraphs.


An adverb is a part of speech that changes or intensifies the meaning of a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Sometimes an adverb can modify a prepositional phrase, a subordinate clause, or a complete sentence. Explained another way, adverbs are words that paint a fuller picture of what’s going on in your writing by specifying how, when, where, or to what extent something happens.


Adverbs that modify adjectives or other adverbs usually appear directly before the words they pertain to.


I was quite pleased when my novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness, won several awards the year it was published.


Adverbs that modify verbs can be more flexible, appearing before or after the verb or at other points in the sentence.


The landlord loudly shouted at the teenagers to turn down their music.

The landlord shouted loudly at the teenagers to turn down their music.

Loudly the landlord shouted at the teenagers to turn down their music.


The alternate placement of the word “loudly” in each of the above sentences offers a slightly different slant.


Adverbs provide information about emphasis, manner, time, degree, condition, concession, purpose or reason, place, or frequency.


Adverbs of emphasis give a greater degree of certainty or added force to another word in a sentence or to the sentence as a whole.


Tim is clearly the toughest guy in Rick’s group of friends.

Naturally, he thinks he can call the shots.


Common adverbs of emphasis include certainly, absolutely, definitely, obviously, positively, really, simply, and undoubtedly.


Adverbs of manner indicate how something is done. They are usually placed before or after the main verb, or sometimes at the end of a sentence.


Rick rushed frantically into the hospital.

Alice quickly ran to him.

She had been waiting for him impatiently.


Adverbs of time tell when something happens. They are usually placed either at the end of a sentence or at the beginning, followed by a comma.


Yesterday, Travis was arrested.

Travis is already in custody.


Adverbs of time are used with other time expressions like days of the week or months of the year. The most common time adverbs include yet, already, yesterday, tomorrow, next or last week/month/year, now, and ago.


Adverbs of degree tell to what degree action occurs.


Seattle is the farthest from home Rick has ever been.

He argued more cleverly than I could have.


Adverbs of condition tell the condition needed before the main idea comes into effect. (An adverb of condition often starts with if, until, or unless.


If Rick lives with the judge, he must finish high school and get counseling.

Tim can’t find a job until his broken arm heals.


Adverbs of concession contrast with the main idea. An adverb of concession often starts with a subordinating conjunction such as although, even though, while, whereas, or even if.


Although Rick acts out in the extreme for a while, he is basically a good kid.


Adverbs of purpose or reason describe why something has happened. They can be individual words – so, since, thus, because – or clauses – so that, in order to.


Given his struggles, Rick carries a lot of inner rage.

Because he is an orphan, Rick needs a guardian during his final year of high school.


Adverbs of place, or spatial adverbs, tell where something happens. They appear at the end of a sentence or follow a verb. This is a case in which an adverb can modify a prepositional phrase. The directions, plus here, there, nowhere, and everywhere are adverbs of place.


Rick decides to rest outside.

The judge waits for Rick in his chambers.


Adverbs of frequency tell how often something is repeatedly done. They include usually, sometimes, never, often, and rarely. Adverbs of frequency are often placed directly before the main verb.


Alice rarely gets flustered.

Walter often reads the morning paper.

Rick usually sleeps late.


Frequency adverbs sometimes appear at the beginning of a sentence, followed by a comma.


Sometimes, Rick and Walter go swimming.


Adverbs of frequency follow the verb “to be.”


Rick is often confused by math problems.


When adverbs modify an adjective, they are placed before the adjective.


Rick is extremely proud of his report card after he begins to study hard.

Walter and Alice are absolutely sure of their decision to help Rick, although Rick tries their patience.


Avoid using words like “very” or “absolutely” too often, and never use them before sweeping adjectives such as “beautiful” or “fantastic.”


Adverbs are often formed by adding the “-ly” suffix to adjectives—loving becomes lovingly, careful becomes carefully, etc. However, some adjectives, such as fast and hard, don’t change in the adverb form. Many common adverbs like just, still, and almost do not end in “-ly.” Good is probably the most important example. The adverb form of good is well.


Bryan is good at tennis.

Bryan plays tennis well.


In the first sentence, good is an adjective that modifies the proper noun Bryan; while in the second, well is an adverb that explains how Bryan plays tennis. Additionally, not all words that end in “-ly” are adverbs, such as “friendly” and “neighborly,” which are both adjectives.


Sometimes the same word can be both an adjective and an adverb. To distinguish between them, it’s important to look at the context of the word in a sentence. For instance, in the sentence, “The fast train from Dallas to Amarillo leaves at eight o’clock,” the word fast modifies and comes before a noun, train. It’s an adjective. However, in the sentence, “The sprinter took the bend fast,” the word fast modifies the verb took and is, therefore, an adverb.


One more tip—the only time hyphens are needed to join adverbs to other words are when using “well” and “fast.” If you are speaking of well-made shoes or fast-growing vegetables, use hyphens. Otherwise, leave them out.


This overview should tell you what you need to know to make your relationship with adverbs less adversarial and, if not friendly, at least functional. Adverbs, when used sparingly, will add depth and description to your writing, just the way salt and spices add flavor to your cooking.



About J. E. Pinto

J. E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame

for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.


Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works

as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.


The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational

Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place

for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.”




What is a family? Rick Myers is a despondent seventeen-year-old who just lost his parents in a car wreck. His family is now the four teenage buddies he’s

grown up with in a run-down apartment building. Fast with their fists, flip with their mouths, and loyal to a fault, “the crew” is all he has.

At least he thinks so until he meets Daisy, an intelligent, independent, self-assured blind girl. Her guts in a world where she’s often painfully vulnerable

intrigue Rick, and her hopeful outlook inspires him to begin believing in himself.

But when the dark side of Daisy’s past catches up with her, tragedy scatters the crew and severely tests Rick’s resolve to build his promising future.

Fortunately, his life is changed by a couple with a pay-it-forward attitude, forged out of their personal struggle with grief and loss. Their support makes

all the difference to Rick and eventually to the ones he holds most dear as they face their own challenges.

“The Bright Side of Darkness” is a story of redemption and the ultimate victory that comes from the determination of the human spirit.


For more details and to buy the book please visit:



  1. Thanks for posting, Patty. I hope this column helps writers refine their work.

    1. Jo. I’m with you on that hope.

      I was asked to read someone’s book not long ago and in every other phrase there were adverbs. Also, a few years back a friend of mine wrote a prologue for a manuscript I was fiddling with. There were so many adverbs in the thing it made me cringe.

      Thankfully a computer crash got rid of it and I’ve learned better since then. LOL.

  2. Jo,
    Great post. I didn’t know there were so many classifications of adverbs. It’s interesting.

    , Are you familiar with Mark Twain’s advice about adverbs? He suggested removing all of them, re-reading and then putting back those that are necessary. In my novel, The Heart of Applebutter Hill, there’s a creative writing teacher named Professor Thornhammer. He has a list of banned four-letter words – not to be used in writing or speech. They are: like, very, sure, fine and just. One of the students wrote a haiku using all of them.

    1. LOL. Donna, this makes me want to read more of your work, and your book.

      That’s funny.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Yes, Jo is great at finding and pointing out all one needs to know about such things as adverbs. She also did a wonderful post on commas called, Commas Are Not Raindrops, and another on the Impossible Apostrophe.

      I find these posts she’s providing for my tips column extremely helpful.

      And, yes, I used an adverb Miss Jo.


      1. Patty, glad you got a chuckle out of it. I have a few of Jo’s posts saved to check out. I love articles about punctuation and grammar . I find them settling like knitting. As a former English major, you’d think I’d know this stuff, but a lot of my college experience went up in smoke, so to speak.

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