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Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverbs

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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DPETTI67
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alright and OK

Postby DPETTI67 » Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:46 pm

Hey Jan,
You wrote a piece explaining NEVER to use the word "alot".
Well, in your professional opinion, what about the words: 'Alright" as comapred to "all right" and "OK as compared to "Okay"?

Your input would be greatly appreciated.

Darren Pettis
May grace and peace be with you!

Darren :>)

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Postby glorybee » Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:58 pm

Darren, funny you should ask!

I just THIS MINUTE posted next week's class, which includes a Quick Take on 'ok'. Pop on over to my "Writing Basics" class to see what I think of it. Feel free to jump right in with a response, too.

As for 'alright'--I looked that one up recently, to be sure I was correct. 'Alright' is becoming accepted usage, especially in informal writing. But I don't care for it.

The Grammar Queen Speaketh.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby CatLin » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:27 pm

I didn't used to think alright was all right. But I looked it up when I was judging one time just to be sure and was suprised to see that it was alright to use. So use it now. :roll: (power of suggestion - I'm weak)
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Postby JoyAnn » Fri Mar 26, 2010 3:04 am

Exhausted, Jan walked into her house at the end of a long day tired. Her work day seeming endless. She slipped off her black shoes at the door and wallows toward the kitchen. All she wanted was an ice-cold soda and something sweet—maybe there was leftover cake in the stainless steel refrigerator.

“Ow!” she exclaimed aloud. Curious she lifted up her left foot to examine what had caused such sudden pain. Embedded firmly in the tender flesh of her heel was one minuscule Lego, left over from her young nephew’s visit the previous day before.




Exhausted, weary, and worn out? sudden, sharp, acute pain? Why say the same thing more then once. Plodded unenthusiastically just stops me in my tracks for a moment you said she was tired of course she's not going to be happy walking into the kitchen to fetch a drink. Sugary saccharine is very unneeded sweet will suffice. Shiny stainless steel, isn't stainless steel normally shiny? unless said otherwise i think of it and see it clean and shinging in the light. it's steel that's what it does so I didn't see the need to have it in there.
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Postby glorybee » Mon Mar 29, 2010 8:02 pm

JoyAnn, you found lots of the unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, and eliminated them for precisely the right reasons.

Your corrected and edited paragraphs have a few issues, which I've noted in red. Care to give them another shot?

Exhausted, Jan walked into her house at the end of a long day tired. the word 'tired' isn't needed there Her work day seeming endless. this was a sentence fragment She slipped off her black shoes at the door and wallows not sure if that's the right verb--and you've slipped into present tense toward the kitchen. All she wanted was an ice-cold soda and something sweet—maybe there was leftover cake in the stainless steel is the material of the refrigerator necessary? refrigerator.

“Ow!” she exclaimed aloud 'aloud' is redundant--you can't exclaim silently. Curious comma needed here she lifted up her left foot to examine what had caused such sudden pain. Embedded firmly in the tender flesh of her heel was one minuscule Lego, left over from her young nephew’s visit the previous day before.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby lthomas » Wed Apr 14, 2010 6:33 pm

Hey Jan, I probably bumbled this one up greatly, but I sincerely had fun doing it :D

Alice’s Red Queen had nothing on Jan today, running in place, getting nowhere. Shoulders drooped, work shoes dangling in hand; she drudged her way into the kitchen. “Maybe there’s a cold pop and left over cake,” she grumbled aloud, noticing dark smudges on her stainless frig. “Perfect,” she muttered, “Just perfect.”

“Ouch?” She began dancing on one foot. “What the heck?” She lifted her foot – a red Lego fell off leaving a perfect cookie-cutter pattern on her tender heel. “Great,” she murmured.

Sitting on the floor, assessing the damage, the phone began to ring. Her sister’s voice called out before she could get up to answer. “Hey, Jan, it’s me. Bobby had such a good time over to your house yesterday playing Lego that he wants to come over again. Tonight, if it’s not too much trouble. Call me when you get home. Love ya.”

Loren
"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." From "As You Like It." Wm. Shakespeare.

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Postby glorybee » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:12 pm

Well done, Loren! Lots of creativity and originality there--I'd forgotten this little scenario, and your interpretation of it was fun to read.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Louis Detweiler » Sun May 16, 2010 6:40 pm

Jan,

Here is my first attempt at lesson two. I did not read any work done by other students. I am glad I am reading them now.

Exhausted, Jan walked into her house at the end of a long day at work. She slipped off her shoes at the door and plodded toward the kitchen. All she wanted was a cold soda and a sweet snack from the refrigerator.
“Ow!” she exclaimed. Lifting her foot to examine what had caused the acute pain, she found a minuscule Lego. The Lego was left over from her nephew’s visit the day before.
For extra credit, pick a few of the adjectives or adverbs above and tell why they are unnecessary.

I believe only one of the adjectives exhausted, weary, or worn out was necessary. They all say the same thing. By emphasizing the adjective exhausted the adverb tiredly is not necessary. The adjectives dark and ebony say the same thing without giving a definite color. Unenthusiastically is not necessary because when someone is plodding either they are deep in thought or they are tired. From the sentences one can tell that Jan is tired.
The icy cold was too much. I think just icy would be fine. Something sugary saccharine was an expression I had never heard. The idea of just getting a sweet snack out of the refrigerator is almost a hidden idea amidst a sea of adverbs and adjectives.

Louis Detweiler

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Postby glorybee » Sun May 16, 2010 7:13 pm

Louis, you did a really great job at paring down my unnecessary adjectives!

Now that you've read through a few of the other responses, would you care to attempt a creative re-write of my little scenario?
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby DAllenJenkins » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:16 pm

glorybee wrote:Exhausted, weary, and worn out, Jan walked tiredly into her house at the end of a long, seemingly endless day at work. She slipped off her dark ebony shoes at the door and plodded unenthusiastically toward the kitchen. All she wanted was an icy cold soda and something sugary saccharine—maybe there was leftover cake in the shiny stainless steel refrigerator.

“Ow!” she exclaimed loudly. She lifted up her left foot to examine curiously what had caused her such sudden, sharp, acute pain. Embedded firmly in the tender flesh of her heel was one minuscule Lego, left over from her young nephew’s visit the previous day before.[/b]




Here is my rendition, albeit late:

Exhausted, Jan walked into her house at the end of a long day at work. She slipped off her ebony shoes at the door and plodded toward the kitchen. All she wanted was a cold soda and something sugary—maybe there was leftover cake in the stainless steel refrigerator.

“Ow!” she exclaimed. She lifted her left foot to examine what had caused her such sharp pain. Embedded in the tender flesh of her heel was a minuscule Lego, left over from her young nephew’s visit the previous day before.

Examples:
No need to describe ebony as dark.
Plodding, by definition, is always unenthusiastic, and thus no need for redundancy.
Lifted can only go up.

There are more, but I won't go beyond these.

Doug
The Making of Tibias Ivory: Freedom's Quest
by D. Allen Jenkins
ISBN # 1-4137-3670-X
www.tibiasivory.com
Thanks for your support

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Postby glorybee » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:30 pm

Doug, thanks for this homework--this is one class in which lateness doesn't matter in the least.

You did a fine job of trimming up my adjective- and adverb-heavy passage. I'd have snipped a few more: 'ebony' and 'stainless steel' aren't really needed in the first paragraph, and in the second, I could say 'previous day' or 'day before', but its' redundant to say them both.

I hope you'll stop by the other classes--and have you entered the Writing challenge? We're always looking for good writers!
Jan Ackerson

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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby smcevers » Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:59 pm

I am new to this site and am eager to learn to write better. I thought it best to start out s a silver member. Although I don't do fiction, I will give this my best effort.

Slowly Jan inserted the key and opened her door. Inside, she dropped her purse on the nearby table and kicked off her shoes. The long monotonous day at work was over and all she wanted was sugar - maybe a soda or a piece of leftover birthday cake.

Without turning on any lights she crossed the room and headed to the kitchen. "Uhn!" She almost crumpled to the floor in pain. Ah, a lego. Apparently the clean up after the birthday party hadn't been very thorough.

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Re: Jan's Writing Basics #2: Beware of Adjectives and Adverb

Postby sonyaluvsjesus » Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:02 am

Here is my attempt...

Finally arriving home after another endless day at work, Jan left her shoes at the door and plodded heavily into the kitchen in search of junk food, something sweet with no redeeming food value, to hopefully pick up her spirits.
Just inside the doorway she felt a piercing pain in her left heel. A cursory examination revealed one tiny lego missed in her hasty clean up after her nephew’s visit the day before.

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