Here's a description of a special on the menu at Farren's, one of my favorite restaurants:
Filet of tilapia in a delicious tomato sauce
And my favorite waiter at Farren's said this about the description of the special: "Of course it's delicious. As opposed to being mediocre or gag inducing? Why does the description need to say it's delicious? That's just redundant and lame. I'm so embarrassed that's on there."
Adjectives and adverbs should add real meaning to a description. If they don't, they're just filler--what I call monosodium glutamate words. MSG adjectives and adverbs are boldfaced in the following examples:
Helpful video clips demonstrate how to perform superficial release techniques.
A useful glossary contains key terms and definitions.
Here are some helpful tips on treating back pain.
It takes the common techniques of successful specialists and puts them into an easy-to-follow format that will benefit any kicker or punter, from a beginner to a professional.
These climbing magazines highlight classic climbs located around the world, often providing route information with topos, gear lists for specific routes, and helpful background information and directions to the climbing sites.
Outdoor retail stores also sponsor climbing trips or have bulletin boards with pertinent news about rock climbing in your area.
High-pressure defense can be effective in limiting the time and space needed for an attack to be successfully executed.
To effectively execute any drill, a team and its players must be able to consistently pass and catch. Once the ball is effectively passed between players, drills will become more constructive.
She successfully completed a marathon.
Plyos warm up players' muscles and properly prepare the players to transition into full-speed practice drills.
The OSR includes printable examination checklists; range of motion, neurological, and strength tables; and superb full-color photographs of skin ailments that will enhance students' ability to correctly identify skin disorders.
A glossary provides important information on diseases and conditions to assist paddling instructors in developing accommodations.
The book also includes numerous practical resources, checklists, and forms to assist you in running your program.
Accurately illustrated with full-color detail, this unique resource will assist both future and current professionals in the correct diagnosis and proper treament of musculoskeletal disorders by increasing their understanding of the intimate relationship between the structure and function of the musculoskeletal system.
About a month after the close of the Games, he died tragically in an automobile accident in Yugoslavia.
Those adjectives and adverbs merely state the obvious and call attention to themselves, thereby weakening the statements. And notice that all the adjectives and adverbs in those examples make the statements redundant. (If you execute a drill or pass a ball, it's assumed that the drill or pass is effective. All tips and video clips are helpful. All resources should be practical. If the information weren't important, then it wouldn't be included, would it? If she completed the marathon, then we can all assume that she was successful at it. I would hope that all news about rock climbing in my area would be pertinent to rock climbing. And who dies happily in a car accident?)
But be cautious in your editing of these words and other words like these. There is a place for the words delicious, comprehensive, useful, effective, successful, and helpful. Just consider whether the sentence can function just as well or even better without the adjective or adverb.