Saturday, September 15, 2012

adjectives and adverbs

As one of the phases of a writing practice, there was a time when I deliberately tried to stick with nouns and verbs. No gussied-up, dig-my-bias addition of adjectives and adverbs, the volume-control on the conversational radio.

But not only was it a discipline. It was something I could and did enthrone and admire and require -- a common-sensical imperative that did away with the mere loudness that others might bring to a topic ... a loudness that could shroud and hide the substance of the issue at hand. If you don't know what you're talking about and if you want to divert attention from your substantial ignorance, well, adjectives and adverbs are your friends.

Good, better, best.

Bad, badder, baddest.

Holy, holier, holiest.







I was pretty hard-headed about it: The more that I or anyone else laid on the adjectives and adverbs, the greater the likelihood that they or I were full of shit and unsure of the substance of the item under discussion. And to a certain extent, I still think that.

Strip away the adjectives and adverbs and what have you got? Well, one thing you've got is the opportunity for the reader or listener to judge for themselves ... and of course most of us spend a ton of time trying to convince others to see things our own adjective- or adverb-strewn way. What a chickenshit approach. As I say, I was pretty hard-headed.

But nowadays, I find my fiery dicta burning lower and lower. I still think it's a good discipline, trying to strip away adjectives and adverbs, to turn down the volume on the conversational radio, but bit by bit the adjectives and adverbs assert their power....

The problem nowadays is to be convinced by the nouns and verbs to which they are attached.

I suppose it is possible to find some consolation in the fact that "adjective" and "adverb" are nouns.

No comments:

Post a Comment