Adverbs considered harmful

There was a minor local news item recently which quoted a complaint made to the Australian advertisement review board.  The actual complaint was very silly, but the language used bears a look:
"This advertisement is categorically incontrovertibly irrefutably unambiguously unequivocally indisputably indubitably undeniably unassailably and impregnably in breach. of 2(a) and (c) of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) code."
This sentence scores points for vocabulary — perhaps I should say it certainly scores points — but I can't help feeling it tells us more about the person doing the whining than anything about the complaint.  Which is the problem with adverbs.  Though having said that I'm probably at the high end of adverb rates among published authors.

I'm still scratching my head about the impregnably.  Does this mean the rules breach can't be taken?  Or can't be made pregnant?


Lexi said...

I used to notice in my daughter's school magazine that the teenagers' writing always had loads of adverbs.

These were bright, well-educated girls. I worked out they were at the stage of showing off their vocabularies, under the illusion that the more descriptive words in there, the richer the reading experience. Had I been their English teacher, I'd have trained them out of it.

Loretta Ross said...

It's probably best if the code breach *is* impregnable. After all, you wouldn't want a litter of little code breaches running around would you?

Gary Corby said...

Oh dear, all those baby breaches...

Lexi, you should totally be teaching English, in between writing books of course.