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By Johannes Helmold

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Hi everyone!

Today, I am going to introduce you to yet another method of improving your writing. It is easy to use, and its results are instant and obvious. All you need to do is to start using more verbs and adverbs, and decrease the number of nouns.

According to a recent study conducted by the social media scientist Dan Zarella, tweets and posts in social media that contain more verbs and adverbs, compared to nouns and adjectives, receive more attention; this can be noticed by the rate of click-throughs. Considering Mr. Zarella has analyzed more than 200,000 tweets, I guess it’s unlikely he is wrong.

If posts saturated with verbs and adverbs receive more click-throughs, it means they are more interesting to audiences; so why not use the same approach in creative writing? Even funny verbs make your writing more dynamic than nouns, they push the plot forward, and convey a feeling to your readers that something is happening (unlike nouns, which only “conserve” the situation, describe it, but do not move it forward), the sensation of activity. Adverbs, in their turn, enrich the verbs by granting them with “shades of meaning,” so to say.

The problem with nouns is they do not show—they tell and explain. Instead of trying to describe an action or feeling, nouns simply name them, and this is not the way you lively up your story (read more about this in my recent post about showing instead of explaining).

I guess there’s no need to say you ought to use verbs in active voice.

Let’s see how different one story can be with the use of verbs and adverbs.


John’s emotional condition was pathetic. His wife left him about a week ago, and now she was probably on some tropical island together with that tanned Spanish guy, Ricardo. During her last call, she informed John that she had no plans to return back to Los Angeles, and his frustration reached new heights.

Now, let’s rewrite it using more verbs and adverbs!

John was thrashing around his room, kicking chairs and cursing fiercely. This Sunday was the seventh day since his wife had left him for that tanned Spanish guy, Ricardo, and now they were probably lying on some tropical beach, laughing at John, drinking cocktails, and doing God knows what else. She called John a couple of days ago only to say she did not plan to return back to Los Angeles; while she was talking, each of her words felt like a knife stabbing him in his bent back.

Well, I believe the second paragraph sounds more attractive and emotional than the first one. So, once again: use more verbs and abverbs! This is a way to improve your writing right away.


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