One of the first critiques I read when I joined Critique Circle last year unleashed quite a lot of vitriol against the author's use of adverbs. And while I supported many of the suggested changes, I also felt a little pang of sympathy for the poor vilified modifiers.
After all, I grew up on Schoolhouse Rock and the Electric Company, where adverbs were celebrated with their own catchy theme songs. Lolly Lolly Lolly (Get Your Adverbs Here!) is tons of fun, of course, but I'm partial to the Electric Company's LY Song:
In the final analysis, we're left with the same old resolution: everything in moderation. Adverbs *can* be quite useful-- as long as we avoid the temptation to overindulge.
I recently read Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, and was struck by a sentence that contains-- in my opinion-- a particularly well-used adverb.
In this scene, a middle-aged man has traveled back in time to visit his wife when she was a child.
Her hands are clenched and she looks fierce and determined. Our daughter, I think sadly, would have looked like this.
This sentence worked very well for me. It raised a lot of story questions. Why does the protagonist, with his knowledge of future events, think this sadly? Did their daughter die? Was she lost or taken away from him? Disfigured? Were they never able to have children or a daughter in the first place?
The simple addition of "sadly" creates all these intriguing little possibilities, while not calling too much attention to the sentence itself. Any attempt to "show" his sadness here, I think, would have been too much, or given too much away.
So, gang, here's the question of the day:
What example of a well-used adverb do YOU have? Post your favorite redeeming example in the comments. It's up to you to prove that they're "positively, very, very, necessary"!