Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seasoning with Modifiers

It's been a while since I wrote a post defending those most-slandered parts of speech--adjectives and adverbs--so I thought it was high time.  (Of course, it helps that the gals over at edittorrent wrote a post basically saying what I've been saying all along--modifiers are not the devil.)  It seems like every writing community has its share of people who read somewhere that adjectives were awful and adverbs were the tool of the lazy.  :shrug:  I don't listen to those people anymore.

Modifiers enrich our language.  Like using different seasons in our cooking, though, everything must be added with a light hand.  Too much makes the experience unpalatable and too little makes it bland.  Sprinkle them lightly, but don't stop using them altogether.

I wish people would stop picking on those parts of speech.  Really, what did they ever do to deserve such hatred?   Poor things.  Sure they've also been overused, but is that really the words' fault or the fault of the word handler? 

Anyway, if you think you're using too many modifiers, you probably are.  Look at each one carefully and make the decision based on whether the sentence and your voice really require it.  If so, keep it.  If not, delete it.  Simple as that.  

And for godsakes, don't ladle modifiers on like some kind of chef gone postal.  I'd rather have bland than unpalatable any day. How about you?

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