I heard using adjectives and adverbs should be avoided; which scenarios should I use adjectives and adverbs?

  • 7
    I think excessive use of adjectives and adverbs should be avoided, but in general? Uh, no.
    – mkennedy
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 1:18
  • 10
    Keep in mind that there are many sources of bad advice about academic writing. Some people loudly announce that their own preferences are universal rules, while others insecurely obsess over every rule they've ever heard anyone announce. If you run across such a rule without a compelling argument behind it, you have no obligation to take it seriously unless you observe that most people in your field really do follow it in practice. Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 5:14
  • If I said "Look at this really super cool study for more information" removing the adverbs and adjectives would give "Look at this study for information" which may contribute to the density of which one writes.
    – alexyorke
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 12:09

1 Answer 1


This advice, taken literally, is absurd. Adjectives and adverbs are perfectly reasonable parts of speech, and there is no inherent reason to avoid them. If you pick up any piece of academic writing, it should be clear that nearly every sentence includes them, and could not reasonably be expressed without them.

I count four in your question itself: "academic", "another", "specific", "proper". I can't imagine how you would express your question without any.

It is generally good advice in academic writing to write concisely and avoid unnecessary words. And it is a little easier to add unnecessary adjectives and adverbs to a sentence than some other parts of speech, so they may deserve some extra scrutiny. But avoiding them altogether? Nonsense.

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