I’ve written elsewhere (here) about my least favorite adverbs. Well, it’s time I evened the score by writing about some of my favorites, the sort of adverb that is specific and can make a verb precise.
You’ll notice from the headline that I’m going to do this ably — with ability. I am an able defender of words, if I say so myself.
Actually, “ably” works out well as a suffix for adverbs that need defending:
Indubitably seems to take a lot of flak for being silly, but it’s just so much fun to say. It means “that cannot be doubted, unquestionable, evident” according to my dictionary.
It’s a shame that indubitably doesn’t get out much — it’s a lot more fun to say than plain old “undoubtedly.”
When I was at the dictionary checking on indubitably, I couldn’t resist saving you a trip and looking up another word for you — and yes, it’s there. If you’re doing something “in a doubtful manner; doubtfully,” it’s quite all right to say dubitably instead. Again, it’s more fun than the plainer “doubtfully.”
If you think the words are just too sesquipedalian, well, good for you for noticing. That’s a vivid way of saying “measuring a foot and a half,” if you want to be literal. The other definitions I found are “very long; said of words” and “using long words.”
So is my vocabulary sesquipedalian? When it needs to be, yes. Is yours?
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Filed under: Words Worth Defending