In an otherwise wonderful little book, "On Writing," Stephen King pounds home this piece of advice.
"The adverb is not your friend," King writes. "Adverbs, you will remember from your own version of Business English, are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They're the ones that usually end in -ly."
Like advice-givers before him, including Strunk and White, King is trying to convey what amounts to a really good piece of advice. But he's conveying it in terms that make it, well, a bad piece of advice.
Yes, adverbs can be fatty, weak-sounding and can suck the life out of a sentence faster than you can say "Herman Melville." But that doesn't make it right to tell people to eschew adverbs.
Here's why: Imagine, for a moment, that you've taken this advice, in its sternest form, to heart. Adverbs bad. Omit adverbs.
What, then, would you do with the following sentence?
"However, John doesn't want to go there now because he's not feeling well."
Don't answer that. It's a trap. Here's why.
Some people would scan that sentence for adverbs, see only the word "well," and end up with the sentence, "However, John doesn't want to go there now because he's not feeling."
Of course, that would be wrong. A real adverbectomy performed on this sentence would instead leave it looking this:
"John doesn't want to go because he's not feeling well."
The omitted words are "however," "there" and "now." That's right. All three of these words are adverbs. "Well," on the other hand, stays in because in this context it's not an adverb. It's an adjective.