I think the quest to stamp out the use of adverbs in writing has gone too far.

Recently I was reading yet another published story where the author attributed to a "disembodied body part" what I regard as an inappropriate descriptor. The phrase was something like "he moved a cautious hand toward the gun."

As I read something a sentence like this, I can't help but picture the character reaching into his "hand box" . . .

"Hmmmm, not this one, it's hesitant . . . not this one, it's more of an angry fist . . . nope, not this one, it's too nervous. . . ah, here 'tis, this one looks like it's a cautious one."

Crazy, but you get the idea.

There's no way the hand can be cautious (what does a cautious hand look like when it's just sitting there on the table or in our "hand box"?). The hand has no motives, no thought, no reasoning power . . . nothing that motivates this form of writing except the perceived need to avoid using an adverb to describe how a person moves his or her hand.

The use of the adverb appropriately describing the motion would–in my estimation–have been better than what was used.

Even better, though, would have been a more immediate, more graphic description of what such a cautious movement looks like. The reader, if he or she is to stay immersed in the story, is better off "seeing" the action and concluding–on his or her own–that the movement was a cautious one.

Any other way, using the more grammatically appropriate adverb or the inappropriate descriptor of the hand, smacks of the author leading the reader . . . and risks calling the reader's attention to the fact that it's a story being read rather than a situation being "lived".

Every time I see adjectives describing "disembodied body parts," I have trouble shaking the strong gut feeling that this is lazy writing . . . at best. It jars me out of my immersion in a story every time because of the absurd imagery that results. And that's bad.

I suppose this is my version of a literary leaky faucet.