Most academic writing is strengthened by eliminating adverbs. To emphasize a point, provide more evidence to support it. Avoid unnecessary words and in particular, adverbs. Instead, choose more precise verbs.
An adverb modifies or describes:
- A verb (e.g. He runs quickly.)
- An adjective (e.g. His writing is extraordinarily descriptive.)
- Another adverb (e.g. He runs extraordinarily quickly.)
Often, but not always, adverbs in English end in –ly. Here are 50 adverbs that I have seen in academic papers that you can eliminate and your writing will be better for it:
Often, when writers make a conscious choice to eliminate adverbs and instead find stronger and more precise verbs, the result is writing that is clearer and more powerful.
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.