Editing Tips from Douglas Gibson (#19)

In this recurring feature, we’re sharing tips for editors from the desk of Douglas Gibson. Good for those starting out or old hands who need a reminder, these guidelines form an engaging guide for sharp-eyed wordsmiths.

Tip #19
Care should be taken with adverbs, and editors should hunt down and kill surplus adverbs, taking an especially hard look at those that tell us how a line of speech is delivered. In my book I take a chance and offend against this rule. See if you think that I was right.
In the chapter on Val Ross (page 342) she is dying, and we both know that she will not live to see her book come out. “Val remarked on how many Robertson Davies books had come out since his death. “Yes,” I said, carefully, “and books do live on.”
I suspect that “carefully” has never been used more carefully.

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