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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Death to the adjective! (Or so say some of the great writers)

When you catch an adjective, kill it. 
~ MARK TWAIN

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The adjective is the banana peel of the parts of speech.

 ~ CLIFTON FADIMAN

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The adjective is the enemy of the noun
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~ VOLTAIRE


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If the noun is good and the verb is strong, you almost never need an adjective.
~ J. ANTHONY LUKAS


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Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers “Please will you do my job for me?”
~ C.S. LEWIS

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Forward motion in any piece of writing is carried by verbs. Verbs are the action words of the language and the most important. Turn to any passage on any page of a successful novel and notice the high percentage of verbs. Beginning writers always use too many adjectives and adverbs and generally use too many dependent clauses. Count your words and words of verbal force (like that word “force” I just used).
~ WILLIAM SLOANE

  • This is just a tiny sample of the wealth of writerly wisdom available on possibly the best website ever for writers looking for advice, "Advice to Writers", curated by author Jon Winokur. (Winokur also has an interesting post on Huffington Post on the best books on writing books. Check it out here.)