This week we discuss lard. Not the kind used in the kitchen, but the kind used to unhelpfully fatten up sentences. Simply put, too much writing is larded up with unhelpful adjectives (words that describe or modify a person or thing in the sentence) and adverbs (words that tell when, where, why, or under what conditions something happens or happened) such as “interesting,” “exciting,” “clearly,” and “plainly.” Ugh! Telling a reader that a cited case “clearly” or “plainly” holds something is no more helpful that just directly saying that the case holds such-and-such. Worse, employing such emphatic adverbs weakens your writing’s persuasive force; and is akin to shouting to make your point.
And why use adjectives such as “interesting” or “exciting”? If the subject matter is actually interesting or exciting, then your sentence should allow the reader to reach that conclusion without needing to shout “hey, this is interesting and exciting!”
Bottom line: Use adverbs and adjectives only when they add useful information (e.g., “Meet me at the Dodger Stadium will-call window, I’ll be wearing a red shirt.”).
That is all for now …