(To survey other elements and author quotes, visit the Elements of Fiction home page)

“Wilson rocks slowly and conscientiously—a startling word that makes the scene spring to life (adverbs are either the dullest tools or the sharpest in the novelist’s toolbox).” John Gardner

“Adverbs are another indication of writing failure. Exactly the right verb can eliminate the need for the adverb.” William Sloane

“Omit needless words. Watch for adverbs that merely repeat the meaning of the verb.” Strunk and White

“Most adverbs are unnecessary. . . . Again and again in careless writing, strong verbs are weakened by redundant adverbs.” William Zinsser