Adverb Abuse

Teenage authors often punctuate their sentences with “very” and “really”, exaggerating the experience being described, which actually dilutes the meaning of their experience. For example, I really enjoy reading books. Does “really” add value to the student’s enjoyment? Or do you, as the reader, become suspect (even subconsciously) of the writer’s enjoyment of reading, exaggerate the value of reading? 

Any admissions officer worth their salt will note that a Gen Z’er who reads on their own volition, let alone enjoys reading, despite being assigned books for homework and coerced (with the threat of low grades) into “analyzing” literature according to teacher’s exacting standards, is an anomaly. Thus, the adverb is unnecessary and may even diminish the writer’s intent. 

Without the “really”, the sentence reads: “I enjoy reading books.” Simply stated, yet powerful in its exactness. Without the prolific adverb use, students convey a confident awareness about their experience, thus convey a willingness to not only live their lives but understand what they’ve experienced. 

Creative Marbles was founded by teachers who appreciate helping students craft insightful essays, first in the academic classroom, now as part of the complex college admissions process. For more information, please contact us

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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