I like adverbs, and I think they're a great component of language. I see them as a good means to communicate efficiently.
I also understand that they can be a sloppy shortcut, and that writing that includes them, can perhaps be improved upon.
I'm now looking for them in my manuscript, and using them as a tag for sentences that require another look. I think this is a good use for my existing adverbs (hint: Lots). So I'm using them to spot possible sloppy areas, in my revision process. I'm happy with some of the changes. But maybe 30% of the adverbs seem like they really can't be improved on, and I want to bounce these off other writers.
"They rarely spoke."
I can't think of any verb that replaces 'rarely spoke.' I could instead say something like "They spoke now and then," but the clause 'now and then' is still an adverb. "They spoke" means almost the opposite of "They rarely spoke". !! I think 'rarely' is a good adverb here.
"He answered immediately."
Using the word immediately ... modifies his action to show that he didn't need to think about his answer. "He answered" is a duller version. "He didn't need any time to think about his answer" is possible, and i'm trying that phrasing now, but it just seems so wordy.
Some adverbs, I found ways to reword, and it helped.
Still others I pruned out, and it is OK - but I'm not certain. To me, "The birds chirped noisily" is very different than "the birds chirped." In that case I took out "noisily" because some people, evidently, really hate adverbs.
What do you think about the above? Do my instincts seem right? I am able to prune or re-word about 70% of my adverbs, and the writing is improving overall. But the above examples are tougher to cut or change.
p.s. just the -ly adverbs that modify verbs, here.