Be Careful of those Adverbs

rogersgeorge on February 8th, 2017

I’ve complained about adverb misuse before, particularly when it’s near the beginning of the sentence, and often in headlines. Such as this one I picked more or less at random:

Trump Reportedly Threatened To Send US Troops To Mexico

A more informative way to say this would be:

[Name of the entity that did the reporting] reported that Trump…

Of course then you’d have to reveal your source, which is more work.

In all honesty I must add that this construction has become an idiom that allows the writer to suggest the possibility of the statement not being true. I still like the more informative way. Less shilly-shallying.

Anyway, here’s another slight goof from NPR that’s almost the same. It pays to be alert.

Meanwhile, the researchers are concerned that the cliff itself continues to be unstable. They’re noticing a widening crack, “making the site extremely dangerous for anyone who ventures too closely to the ocean entry by land or by sea.” Researchers can actually hear grinding noises coming from the crack, and they’re warning that it “could collapse at any time.”

It should be “ventures too close…” They’re describing where someone might venture, not the manner of venturing.

Harrumpf. By the way, it’s an interesting article, with a video of the lava pouring into the ocean.

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