As writers, we are always told not to use adverbs and that usually is sound advice. Now, I noticed that I keep missing the little monsters, especially if reading on screen. So, how do I make sure that I keep only those few adverbs that I really, really need? I color them. It's fairly easy. This is how you do it:
Open the manuscript and choose a color for highlighting (In MS Word the icon is on the far right and looks like a knife hovering over a line).
Open the "Search and Replace" dialog of your writing program and enter "ly" in the search and in the replace box. Then, with the cursor in the replace box, click on a button called "More" or "Expand" or something similar (it depends a bit on which program you use) which will give you additional options. Choose "Format" and "Highlight" and then click on "Replace All". Now, you won't miss the brightly colored -ly words any more when reading through your manuscript.
By the way, this can be used for any other annoying word or word combination you use.
This is such a useful tip. It definitely helps to tame down those "ly" and overused words. Does anyone use it for anything else? Thanks for sharing, Cat!