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We writers hold it in such low regard. Yes, I know, a strong verb has more muscle than a modifier.

“He yelled,” packs more punch than: “He said loudly.”

And yet, listening to my nephew Logan reading the opening pages of a “Harry Potter” book this past holiday, I was struck by how fond J.K. Rowling seemed to be of the lowly adverb. She had sprinkled adverbs throughout those pages and they did not appear to upset or disturb Logan in any way.

I noticed, but I am a cranky reporter and often envious of the freedoms enjoyed by those who practice less constrained writing. Many a writing mentor has red-lined and otherwise scolded the adverb out of me. Maybe the Brits don’t mind it as much.

So is the adverb all that bad? Is it the “um” of writing, a little placeholder while we collect our thoughts?