At The Barefoot Writer, we talk a lot about writing like you talk. Your prospect responds best when you write this way. With some exceptions, of course.

A major exception is using adverbs. Your English teachers taught you these words “modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.” The easiest way to recognize them is with their “-ly” ending. These are words like “beautifully,” “magnificently,” and “stupendously.”

We tend to pepper our conversation with adverbs without thinking. It’s how we add emphasis. It’s natural. However, if you overuse adverbs while writing, your copy can seem hyped up. Insincere. Too pushy.

And, they’re often a crutch. We writers use them instead of finding a better, more engaging way of saying what we want. Here’s an example:

“After taking Osteo-Health for just 6 days, you’re going to really love it. You’ll dance as beautifully and gracefully as you did when you were 25. Your friends will be totally amazed at the new, younger you.”

Okay, this isn’t the greatest copy even without the adverbs. But, you can see how including them can act as a barrier between you and your reader. It’s just too much. You come across as trying too hard.

A little editing of this copy (with a few other adjustments):

“After taking Osteo-Health for just 6 days, you’re going to love the new, younger you. And so will your friends. Did you used to love to dance but had to give it up because of sore, achy joints? No more. You’ll be back on the dance floor wowing them like you did when you were 25… and enjoying every minute.”

By getting rid of the adverbs, I forced myself to write copy that is more active and engaging. I couldn’t rely on the “-ly” crutch to tell the prospect what I wanted her to hear.

Don’t get rid of all the adverbs in your copy. A few will add spice and verve. Too many, though, and you’ll start to sound like a late-night, infomercial pitchman.

One More Tip to Avoid Adverbs in Your Writing

Here’s a warning about avoiding adverbs — or doing any of this kind of editing: Don’t deliberately try to stop using adverbs while you write. Write like you always do.

Once you have the first or second draft done, go back and look for adverbs. Force yourself to rewrite your sentences to get rid of half of them. Then, maybe shoot for removing a few more.

Doing it this way, you won’t change your natural writer’s voice. And, you won’t slow down your writing. Over several weeks or months of using this strategy, you’ll find you’ve started reducing your natural reliance on these crutches.