5 Ways to Get Rid of Your Damn Empty Modifiers
I discussed the need to get rid of empty emphatics when I gave you 8 words to seek and destroy in your writing, but just saying that you should get rid of a thing doesn't say much about the right way to do so. Today I'm going to show you a few of my favorite ways to get rid of your empty modifiers. What exactly is an empty modifier? It's any word whose only role is to intensify the word it's modifying. The prime candidates here are "very" and "really," but "extremely," "intensely," "totally," "absolutely," "quite," and many other emphatic modifiers make the list. Further, many emphatics that shift meaning slightly or add some flavor (e.g., "just" or "damn") should be approached with skepticism, and it's easy to find flimsy "-ly" words that show us why the road to hell is paved with adverbs. I'm not saying that empty modifiers should never be used. 1. Sylvia was very crazy. This is the easiest and often the best solution. 2. Bob was really ugly hideous. 3. Shane was really tall. 4. 5.
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