In Defense of Conversational Adverbs

Apparently, some folks are taking offense to using “actually” in conversation. Actually, there’s something very nice about using adverbs in regular conversation. Realistically, it beats the tongue-tied swagger or the awkward pauses because, actually, the brain gets an extra second as the beads of sweat form hideous spoors on your forehead while hot lights, cameras and an audience are upon you and you hope to hell that you’re coming across as articulately as the perfectionist producers demand (yes, even on CSPAN!). Actually, it’s not quite like that at all. But having been on camera, it’s close. Inadvertently, in print, adverbs stick out long sore thumbs but, actually, adverbs announce a moment of discovery, a sense that one is discovering a point or a thesis in the process of response and, actually, if someone has a problem with this, well then we suspect that they may not have many ideas to contribute to the world, save complaints over very minute things. Actually.


  1. Honestly, adverbs are a tremendously important crutch for me, and I really think there’s no way in Hell I’d give them up.

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