Hege Library & Learning Technologies

Guilford College Writing Manual

This is the official Guilford College Writing Manual. A collaboration between the English Department and the Hege Library.

Writing with Nouns and Verbs

Generally, write with nouns and verbs rather than adjectives and adverbs, except when you are using adjectives and adverbs to create greater specificity (as in "black '79 Firebird with a crumpled right fender").

Where possible, substitute more precise nouns for noun-adjective combinations and more precise verbs for verb/adverb combinations.

Thus instead of saying "a very large man," try "giant" or "behemoth" or "colossus" or "leviathan."

Instead of saying "she replied angrily," try "she retorted."

Nouns and verbs, matter and energy. E=Mc2