Some Lovely Music and Other Noise #socs

“Tenderly” is a 1946 pop standard by Walter Lloyd Gross with lyrics by Jack Lawrence. From 1952, here’s the lovely Rosemary Clooney.

You just knew I was going to do something like that, didn’t you? Here’s another: “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise,” from the 1928 operetta The New Moon, was written by Sigmund Romberg with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It’s become a jazz standard over the years. Here’s the Nat Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra with Franklyn Baur doing the vocal, from 1929.

Adverbs generally end in -ly (like generally right there) and modify verbs or adjectives. English teachers, and especially writing teachers, tell you not to use adverbs, which is hard (maybe even impossible) to do, because they’re pervasive and useful words. It’s true, you can usually find a verb or adjective that does a better job of expressing what you’re trying to say with the verb/adjective and adverb. Consider the sentence “The very pretty girl walked quickly through the lobby.” You cxan replace “very pretty” with “gorgeous” and “walked quickly” with “hustled,” yielding “The gorgeous girl hustled through the lobby.” But you already knew that, didn’t you? I weren’t no English major, so I’ll leave that up to you. Gladly.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word about AC Fire-Ring spark plugs.

18 thoughts on “Some Lovely Music and Other Noise #socs

    1. Those chanteuses from the ’40’s and ’50’s could really sing, couldn’t they? And “Tenderly” is a beautiful song. I almost used the version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. You wouldn’t think so, but they sounded fantastic together.

      I understand the aversion to adverbs: most of the time, you can find a stronger verb or adjective to replace the combination of adverb and verb/adjective. At the same time, that sort of wordsmithing can get you into trouble. I had a manager who used the verb “chide” in an email with me, which came off as arrogant and condescending and upset me so badly that I handed in my resignation and almost knocked his teeth down his throat…

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    1. The movie “Deep In My Heart” with Jose Ferrer introduced me to the music of Sigmund Romberg, so “Softly…” is a personal favorite. And Rosemary Clooney (who was in “Deep In My Heart” with her then-husband Jose and was expecting one of their children at the time) is one of those singers I fall in love with whenever I hear her sing.

      Adverbs are a useful part of the language, and while I understand the reason behind limiting their use, they work. Use them with alacrity!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What I found most interesting about the ad is that I have never seen an ad for spark plugs before. They still exist, and are still sold. It’s funny how times have changed.

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  2. Great music selection, John. I like adverbs and most likely use them too much. They seem to add a friendly touch to writing. Have you ever used the Hemingway Editor for writing? If you use it, you’ll find adverbs should be limited. Oh, well.

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    1. I haven’t used Hemingway, and I don’t think I’d follow its advice, anyway. That goes for spell checkers as well. The way I see it, you write the way you’re comfortable writing (well, maybe not in business or academe) because it’s natural.I don’t see a need to make things complicated.

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