Use adverbs proper!

Adverbs are misused so often, it's hard to know how to use them correctly.

Most commonly, an adverb modifies the meaning of a verb:

  • She always walks quickly to her car after dark.
  • He jumped up so fast, he tripped over his feet.

Some words have two adverbial forms:

  • Buy cheap and sell high.
  • The house was cheaply built.

The position of an adverb may affect the meaning of a sentence:

  • She only nominated Carter for president. (She did not vote for him.)
  • She nominated only Carter for president. (She nominated only one candidate.)

Place an adverb as close as possible to the word it modifies:

  • It almost seems implausible that the jury voted him innocent.
  • It seems almost implausible that the jury voted him innocent. (Better)

Put an adverb at the beginning of the sentence if it modifies the whole sentence:

  • Luckily, no one was on the ship when it sank.

It's okay to place adverbs between the elements of a compound verb:

  • She was hardly breathing.
  • The students will undoubtedly find this class exciting.

Many adverbs are unnecessary and only clutter sentences:

  • Each page should be carefully numbered throughout. (Throughout is redundant.)
  • Repeat the question again. (Again is redundant.)
  • He clenched his fist tightly. (Tightly does not add to the meaning of this sentence.)