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Sloppy Writing 101.32

October 5, 2012 by Suzi

Adverbs. Again.

So I found an non-LY adverb this time. I had 28 occurrences of forward in The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. Once I went through, I found that I wanted to keep most of them. But there were still several I could delete.

-Sasha skirted around the table and pulled the coffee maker forward.
This one, I deleted the forward, but added an out. So I really didn’t get rid of a word.

-Ruth leaned forward to shake my hand.
I didn’t need the stage directions. I can just say, Ruth shook my hand.

-Sasha leaned forward and winced, then grabbed her stomach.
Again with the stage directions. I’ve got her leaning, wincing and grabbing. I can cut out the leaning forward.

-I hunched forward, the tension in my neck aching.
Forward is unnecessary. You don’t hunch backward. At least I can’t.

Overall, I didn’t get rid of a ton of forwards, but there were a few unnecessary one.


  1. Chloe Banks says:

    Forwards is one of mine too – or similar directions: out, down, up, over etc.

    “He (reached out) and picked up the sword”

    “She looked (down) at her feet”

    “He stared (up) at the sky”

    Most readers will know where the sky is!

  2. Jay says:

    These posts are always so helpful; they remind me to go through my own work and find/remove the words that are unnecessary. My problem ones are just, seem, however…

    I’ve taken to keeping a list of words I have to watch out for. It helps.

  3. Dana says:

    Thanks for this. Forward isn’t a word I’ve watched out for—but I will now!

  4. You are so thorough! You always make me think about my writing – even when it’s not in fiction. I have started to think about writing reports in a totally new way, too. I believe you have helped clean up all my writing!

  5. These adverbs are the tricky ones to find. Stinkers :)

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