Adverb! Oh, adverb! I hate you! You stink!

editing, writing

Last night while I was writing I noticed something insidious: a hidden adverb! We’ve all heard that weak writing relies on adverbs. We’ve all caught ourselves writing about a character “breathing quickly” only to ask ourselves, in near panic, What’s a single verb that means breathing quickly? So imagine my surprise when I reread the following sentence:

As rainwater poured in sheets off the roof beside them…

Poured is decent verb for rain. And “in sheets” helps describe how the rain is—hey, wait a minute! I’m modifying my verb with…duh duh dumm…a hidden adverb! Okay, it’s not technically an adverb, but it’s doing the same work: slowing down my readers and letting me get away with weaker verbs. My solution?

As rainwater sheeted off the roof beside them…

Anyone else discovered a hidden adverb in their writing? Anyone else like talking about sentences?