Writing Adverblessly(*)

(*) Yes, the title is a contradiction.

I was wondering the other week [early January –ed.] if it were possible to write without adverbs. Or adjectives, but I’ve already used “other,” and now “already.”

It’s just a game to play: How much can you write, or say, without modifiers?  [I know: by allowing those those grammatical constructs according to the rules below, I am technically permitting “modifiers.”  I am only interested in avoiding “true” adverbs and adjectives.]

Let’s set the ground rules

  • we’ll allow articles — I don’t know if we could get anywhere without “a,” “an” and “the.”  You can try it if you like…
  • prepositional phrases or other forms that function as adjectives or adverbs we’ll allow.

Can you even re-phrase “the quick brown fox…” ?

the fox moved in a way that surprized…

the fox’s movements displayed a flare of speed…

(I confess I spent almost a month of noodling to come up with those two; now where was I… ?)

What about colors?  “The red house on the corner burned to the ground overnight.”

The house looked like a firetruck; yesterday it stood at the intersection of Main and 3rd, but this morning it was cinder and ash.

Oops: “yesterday” and “this morning” are both dis-allowed

in the evening [it was intact], but it was destroyed in the night.

One has to rely on prepositional phrases, if nothing else…

Number would seem the most difficult: “the twelve soldiers divided the three territories.”

the soldiers numbered a dozen, and the territories were a quarter of that.

I know, a total waste of time, but an idle word game for someone who might like that kind of thing.  I kept this post as a draft for a long time, but just to finish something, here you go.

Give me your toughest challenge, and I’ll try and re-write it.


2 Responses to “Writing Adverblessly(*)”

  1. Jessica-MomForHim Says:

    I just found your blog (what took me so long?) and I love this post!

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