Shakily may not be a four letter word, but in my opinion it’s much worse. It’s clunky and irritating, and has been in every book I’ve listened to over the last six months. At least a dozen times, each.
Say the word out loud.
Doesn’t it sound awkward?
I believe, though most adverbs are just redundant, they can add to the meaning of a sentence when used in a certain way—I’m working on a post about that—but not shakily.
If you don’t believe me, read the following two sentences out loud.
- She climbed to her feet, shakily.
- She climbed to her feet, shaking.
Which sounds better to you?
Both sentences convey the same information, but in my opinion, the second one sounds way better. The first feels off. It grates, and as a listener—yes, I listen to far more books now days than I read—I’ve come to loathe the word. It has an awkward rhythm and never flows.
Why am I going off on one particular adverb?
Because I keep hearing it over and over again in audio-books and I’m vowing to do a word search in order to wipe it from my manuscript.
If you have any hated adverbs on your never use list, let me know what they are so I can add them to mine.