In grammar, an adjective is a ‘describing’ word; the main syntactic role of which, is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified. Adjectives assign value to the words they modify. They tell you how you should feel about those words.
The New York Times ran an article in June of 2012 in which they actually scolded themselves for overusing the adjectives “signature” (18 times in one week), “eye-popping” (128 times this year) “jaw-dropping” (74 times) and the adverb “arguably” (almost 500 times).
So what does that have to do with you? Everything! Overuse of words causes those words to lose their impact. Your readers notice this and other quirky mannerisms you might have. Look at the following mannerisms and take note of any you have.
~Do you have a bad habit of using “it’s” when you should use “its”?
~Do you tend to make comparisons in groups of three?
~Do you leave out capital letters?
~Do you use insert pauses everywhere with three dots…cramming too many ellipses in a post of only 500 words?
~Do you use unnecessary adverbs?
Mannerisms annoy readers. You goal should be to eliminate them from your blog. If you had a proofreader, they would find and fix such flaws for you. However, most blog writers do not have someone that proofreads each post. You are your own proofreader!
If you’re going to keep a lookout on something, adjectives and adverbs are usually the culprits in overuse. Adjectives are fine in moderation, but keep in mind that words have meanings. Few things need multiple adjectives. If you throw in adjectives just to fill space, you quickly lose points in the eyes of your readers.
Don’t lose heart just yet. You can attack your “mannerism” problem painlessly by insisting on more concrete nouns and active verbs to describe your products, programs and people.
Take a look at this New York Times headline from June 7: “Stocks Move Higher, but Concerns Remain.”
What you see is two verbs, “move” and “remain.” The verbs convey the action and the headline summarizes the main points of the article. This headline does not over-promise and it does not tell you how you should feel. Did you notice the absence of adjectives? Good for you! Learn from this headline.
The next time you want to use an adjective in the headline of your blog, or in the body of the blog, make sure you really need it. Can you find a verb that conveys the same thought? If so, use it.