Welcome back to the Grammar Phobe lessons! Boy, I know you all are excited about this week's lesson. I hope that you are. Well, humor me, okay?
This week we are talking about verbs. Verbs. I just love the word. Verb, verby, verbs! According to Stunk and White, here's the definition of verbs: a word of group of words that expresses the action or indicates the state of being of the subject. Verbs activate sentences. They make sentences come alive.
Now verbs I've had no problem with. Give me some verbs! I'll love them! Be it running, skipping, hopping, aren't they verbalicious? Verbs are just as important as nouns, because if you don't use verbs and nouns, then you would be typing mmmmmm all the time. Now here's a good example of a verb/noun working together:
Pretty short but sweet. Jesus of course is the noun, a person. He wept, expresses the fact he's doing something. He's weeping. He's expressing pain. No other words are needed.
Then we get to the word verbal. EOS says that verbal functions in a sentence as a noun, an adjective or an adverb rather than a principal verb. An example can include a knitted scarf (knitted being the verb, scarf the noun) or the swimming pool. Then it leads us to something that writing teachers are very passionate in their hatred of. You can take away their tenure you can take away their benefits, but one thing they will go on about until the fading light, is this simple fact:
Adverbs are evil.
What are adverbs? A word that changes or identifies a verb, an adjective,or another adverb. I am very grateful to repeat viewings of Schoolhouse Rock's "Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here" for this info. In case you've never seen this one, three generations of Lollys sell adverbs. Business is slow, no doubt because of writing teachers saying that adverbs are evil. They do a commercial where all three Lollys talk about how much fun adverbs are. Soon everyone is flocking to Lolly's, wanting his or her adverb fix. However, writing teachers still hate adverbs.
Now although I love the song (and I'll put the video in my media) I see the point here. Adverbs can be too easy. Sometimes you need to show how the character is doing. You need a picture in your head. Ariel Gore in her book How to Be Come A Famous Writer Before You're Dead said that hey, she loves her adverbs and she would hang out with the Lollys, but it can be overused. It can work for stage directions, but for prose, it's considered lazy. This gets back to the old chestnut, show not tell. Show your characters in pain, in anger, in ecstasy. Don't shorten it in one word.
Now here comes the argument for adverbs: "J.K. Rowling uses them!"
If you had a snob for a writing teacher, he or she would sniff and say, "Well, consider the source." I'm also sure that many people want to go to Rowling's castle with torches and yell, "Stop using adverbs, Jo!" Me, I am no snob, and I like J.K. Rowling because any woman who can rise above poverty and have so much success is number one in my book, plus she can tell a good story. However, J.K. Rowling is J.K. Rowling. If she wants to be adverb crazy, okay. Nevertheless, for you, you have to look at your own writing and decide does this help or hurt it?
Somehow, my grammar lesson has become a writing lesson, proving yet again that it is all connected. I hope I made my point. Go out and do something verby today: swim, walk, and love. It's all good.
Causes Jennifer Gibbons Supports
Gilda's Club, Greenpeace, Rosie's Broadway Kids,Westwind Foster Family Agency, Amber Brown Fund, Linda Duncan Fund for Contra Costa Libraries