Recently, I’ve heard various writing teachers dismiss the use of adverbs, particularly in fiction writing. While adverbs can certainly weaken a story, at times they are necessary.
Here are some times when adverbs are called for:
- When you are indicating time. For example, She arrived late.
- When your meaning requires it. For example, He exhaled forcefully (as opposed to a simple exhalation).
- When you are locating your character in space. For example, He stood nearby.
- When you are indicating numerical or chronological order. For example, First, he unlocked the door.
- When you need to qualify an adjective. For example, She is highly qualified (as opposed to just qualified).
So use adverbs with discretion. Too much of a good thing is bad. But too little of a good thing can be equally bad.