Grammar Adjectives and Adverbs: When to Use -ly |
The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Adjectives and Adverbs: When to Use -ly

Do you wonder when to add -ly to a word? For example, should you say, “He speaks slow” or “He speaks slowly.” Let’s find out.

Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns. They may come before the word they describe: “That is a cute puppy.” Adjectives may also follow the word they describe: “That puppy is cute.”

Adverbs modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. If an adverb answers how and can have an -ly attached to it, place it there.

She thinks slow/slowly. Slowly answers how she thinks.
We performed bad/badly. Badly answers how we performed.
She thinks fast/fastly. Fast may be either an adjective or an adverb. In this example, fast answers how she thinks. There is no such word as fastly.

Rule: When comparing, don’t drop the -ly. Simply add more or less.

He speaks more slowly than his brother.

Rule: English grammar has one tricky caveat that seems like an exception to these easy rules: If the verb is one of these four senses—taste, smell, look, feel—don’t ask how. Instead, ask if the sense verb is used actively. If so, attach the -ly. If the sense verb is not used actively, which is more common, don’t attach -ly.

Roses smell sweet/sweetly. Do roses actively smell with noses? No, so no -ly.
The woman looked angry/angrily. Is the woman actively looking with eyes? No, only her appearance is being described.
She feels bad/badly about the news. She is not feeling with fingers so no -ly.
She feels bad/badly since burning her fingers. She feels with her fingers here so the adverb (-ly form) is used.


Pop Quiz

1. I feel bad/badly about telling that secret.
2. Walk slower/more slowly, please.
3. You look sad/sadly about the news.


Pop Quiz Answers

1. I feel bad about telling that secret.
2. Walk more slowly, please.
3. You look sad about the news.

If the article or the existing discussions do not address a thought or question you have on the subject, please use the "Comment" box at the bottom of this page.

132 responses to “Adjectives and Adverbs: When to Use -ly

  1. James Dean says:

    Which is correct more important or more importantly? I constantly hear importantly on tv. Thanks.

    • Jane says:

      We prefer and recommend more important, an elliptical phrase meaning “What is more important is the fact that…”

  2. losy says:

    I feel bad/badly about telling that secret.

    • Jane says:

      In this case, the sense verb (feel) is not used actively. Since I am not actually feeling with my fingers, do not attach -ly.

  3. dusan vesi says:

    you wrote that adverbs ending with -ly, where this -ly is not a suffix but just a part of words should not be hyphenated as modifiers. should i hyphenate words like these?
    a highly-impossible solution.
    a highly-developed technology.
    highly-sensitive teeth.
    a closely-held corporation.
    a family-owned estate.
    and why is it that you can hyphenate ‘a friendly-looking man’, when ‘friendly’ is an adverb?
    thank you for your answer

    • We believe you are asking about Rules 4 and 5 of the “Hyphens” section.

      Rule 4 says, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.”

      In the phrase friendly-looking man, “friendly-looking” is a compound-adjective describing the noun man. It is not an adverb. That is why there is a hyphen.

      Rule 5 states, “When adverbs not ending in -ly are used as compound words in front of a noun, hyphenate. When the combination of words is used after the noun, do not hyphenate.”

      Since all of the examples you gave do end in -ly, this rule does not apply to them. Only compound adjectives–adjectives that act as one idea with other adjectives–get hyphenated in front of nouns. According to The Chicago Manual of Style (7.82), “Compounds formed by an adverb ending in ly plus an adjective or participle (such as largely irrelevant or smartly dressed) are not hyphenated either before or after a noun, since ambiguity is virtually impossible.” Thus, in your examples, the correct usage would be:

      highly impossible solution
      highly developed technology
      highly sensitive teeth
      closely held corporation

      family-owned estate (family-owned is a compound adjective).

  4. Brian Jones says:

    I just started re-reading the Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, and came up with this poem to remember “Rule 2.” from the “Adjectives and Adverbs” section:

    Roses with noses smell sweetly,
    While those with no beak just smell sweet.

  5. Paula says:

    What is a good rule with more than one adjective, like below? There are 155 of them and they are gallon size.

    • On our website, Rule 4 of Hyphens Between Words states, “Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a single idea.” The way your sentence is written, it leads the reader to believe the plants are 155-gallon size. We would recommend writing, “You brought in 155 one-gallon foliage plants,” to avoid confusion.

  6. muqaddas says:

    i got it it is very good website plz show us some more topics

  7. Michelle says:

    do u mean that only that thing happen on us and we can really feel it just adding -ly bhind the word?..

    • Michelle says:

      she feels badly since burning her finger…(experience)
      And she feel bad about the news(doesn’t experience on the girl)

      • Our Rule 2 of Adjectives and Adverbs states, “A special -ly rule applies when four of the senses – taste, smell, look, feel – are the verbs . . . [A]sk if the sense verb is being used actively [in this case really feeling or experiencing it]. If so, use the -ly.

        Therefore, “She feels badly since burning her finger” is correct. However, to make sure you are being clearly understood, you could reword your sentence to “Her sense of touch is poor since burning her finger.”

  8. nicole says:

    how does a verb ending with -ly is used as an adjective?

    • A word ending in -ly is not a verb. It can be an adverb or an adjective. When used as an adjective, it modifies a noun. Here are some examples of -ly adjectives:

      Frank was lonely when he first moved to his new town.
      Patches is a very friendly dog.
      That is a lovely dress you are wearing!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    Which is correct and why?

    The boat was going slow.
    The boat was going slowly.

    Thank you.

  10. Liz says:

    I’m going crazy listening to people nowadays who don’t use ly at the end of words. Even well known people, such as, news correspondents, etc. fail to use it. I’m sure they must still teach proper English usage in school these days, do they not?

    • As far as we know, teachers are still teaching proper English in the schools. It is possible that modern, informal uses of language (text messaging, quick emails between friends, etc.) are creeping into and having a deleterious effect on formal communication.

      • Rick says:

        I am a novice writer. Therefore, I read about writing, more than I actually write. I read that I should eliminate ‘all’ words ending in ‘ly’ and find a better way of communicating my thoughts.
        What is your thoughts on this?

        • Many authors and writing instructors advise against using adverbs. Most adverbs end in ly, but not all words ending in ly are adverbs (family, for instance). You may find that minimizing your use of words ending in ly makes your writing stronger and more interesting. Try it and see what you think.

  11. Carol says:

    I am SO glad somebody else has noticed this. I thought I was going crazy. People look at me like I’ve lost my marbles and tell me I am wrong when I correct them or notice others. I’ve even started doubting myself.

  12. Marisa says:

    I recently was corrected for this sentence.

    “The sheets came out perfect.” I was told to use perfectly instead. Is that correct?

  13. Isabelle says:

    Adverbs modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. If an adverb answers how and can have an -ly attached to it, place it there.

    Example: She thinks slow/slowly. Slowly answers how she thinks.

    Example: We performed bad/badly. Badly answers how we performed.

    Example: She thinks fast/fastly. Even though fast answers how she thinks, there is no such word as fastly.
    Where’s the verb, i can’t see an example

  14. Erebody says:

    The website has a slow to moderate streaming video feed.
    The website has a moderate streaming video feed.

    Is moderate used correctly in these sentences, or should one or both sentences use moderately? Thank you for your help!!

  15. Jackie says:

    One of the professional staff always uses the word “irregularly” to describe a parcel of land which I am uncomfortable using, e.g.

    “Each of the properties is irregular in shape and the properties comprising the winery complex form an irregularly shaped parcel of land.”

    Can you please explain if his use is correct or otherwise?

    Thank you

    • The word irregularly, defined in Webster’s New World as “not symmetrical, not uniform,” is fine in the sentence. Perhaps you were put off because it’s used twice within a single sentence, as is “properties.” Please note also that comprising is incorrectly used: The winery complex comprises the properties, not the other way around. So a correct alternative might be:

      “Each of the properties is asymmetrical in shape and the acreage making up the winery complex forms an irregularly shaped parcel of land.”

  16. Angelo S. says:

    What is correct?

    When a doctor is going to look into your mouth, should he say, “Open wide” or “Open widely” ? Please let me know.

    I think the former since I remember learning that with commands, you do not use adverbs:

    Run fast! instead of Run quickly!

    • In the command “open wide,” “open” acts as a linking verb, therefore taking the adjective, as in “smells bad” rather than “smells badly.” “Open wide” is really a concise way of saying, “Open so that your mouth is as wide as possible.”

  17. Andrea says:

    There is a commercial that says, “Is your computer running slow?” Should it be “running slowly?” I would think it is, but maybe I am missing something?


    • Our general recommendation is that if a word can have an –ly added to its adjective form, place it there to form an adverb. However, for over 400 years, slow has been accepted as an adverb as well as an adjective. We’d prefer slowly, but slow is acceptable.

  18. Gaurav sharma says:

    My question is can the adverb ‘only’ be used at the end of a sentence or not and please tell me which one is correct I have only fifty dollars or I have fifty dollars only. If the second sentence is correct then what does it mean? does it mean the same, and my second question is when to use who is who, who is which, who is whom, whom is who, which is who,which is which,whose is whose etc.

    • In English, an adverb is typically in close proximity to the verb that it modifies. In your example, the word only modifies the verb have, therefore it is best to write “I only have fifty dollars,” or “I have only fifty dollars.”

      The phrases “who is who” and “which is which” are phrases that are used when asking for help in distinguishing two similar or unknown people or things. “Who is who” is used for people and “which is which” is used for things.
      The phrase “who is who” could be used in the following instances:
      A person looking at a photograph of a group of people could ask, “Can you tell me who is who?” if the names of the people are not known.
      A person looking at identical twins could say, “I don’t know how you can tell who is who.”

      The phrase “which is which” could be used in the following instance:
      A person who has been told that there is decaffeinated coffee available could say, “Can you tell me which is which?” if they cannot distinguish between two different pots of coffee.

      The phrase “whose is whose” is used when asking for help in distinguishing which item belongs to which person.
      A person looking at a closet of coats belonging to guests could say, “Can you tell me whose is whose?”

      Who is which, who is whom, whom is who, and which is who are grammatically incorrect.

  19. Sijuade says:

    Please I want to knw which is correct:
    Her blood pressure dropped to a dangerous/dangerously low level.

  20. donna says:

    What to use?

    She made a dress and it came out terrible/terribly.

  21. Mary Rose Sanchez Muñoz says:

    Can you give me more examples and answers when do we use or to put ly? Today please because I really neet it now.

    • We are pleased to answer questions that help our readers improve their grammar and punctuation skills. When you require immediate assistance, you may wish to hire a personal tutor. Nonetheless, here are some additional examples:
      1. C.J. slept sound/soundly after running the marathon.
      2. The jasmine has bloomed and smells very sweet/sweetly.
      3. Our homemade fried rice was real/really tasty.
      4. Come quick/quickly or we will miss our bus.

      1. soundly
      2. sweet
      3. really
      4. quickly

  22. Aaron says:

    absolutely perfect ability or absolute perfect ability which one and why?

  23. Sana says:

    Do we use a ‘-ly’ suffix before or after a verb? for example:-
    1. I would knock quickly on her door.
    2. I would quickly knock on her door.

    Which one of these is right?

    • Both of your sentences are grammatical. It’s a question of nuance whether the writer chooses “knock quickly” or “quickly knock,” though we prefer the sound of “knock quickly.”The Chicago Manual of Styles Rule 5.166 says, “If the adverb qualifies an intransitive verb, it should immediately follow the verb.”

  24. Genifer D. says:

    Thank you for providing this opportunity to be a subscriber of this site. It is indeed beautiful. In the sentence ” She is awfully pretty”, is the use of the word ‘awful’ right?

  25. Luisa says:

    Smelly (Adjective or Adverb)
    The smelly flower. (Adjective?)
    The red flower is smelly. (Adverb?)
    Are these sentences correct?
    Thank you!

    • In English, the word smelly is an adjective meaning “having a bad smell.” It is used as an adjective in your sentences. Your sentences could be correct if the flower has an offensive odor. If not, it might be better to use the word fragrant.

  26. Kristina says:

    Would I say please do that nice and slowly or please do that nicely and slowly

    • Formally, your sentence requires adverbs to modify the verb do. Therefore, write nicely and slowly. However, “nice and slow” is an idiomatic adverb, and nowadays is acceptable in all but the most formal circumstances.

  27. Kelly says:

    In regards to pop quiz question #3, “You look sad/sadly about the news”, why isn’t the word sadly used when it answers how the person looked?

    • The correct choice is “sad,” an adjective. “Sadly” is an adverb. “Sad” modifies “you,” which is a (pro)noun; it does not modify the verb “look,” which is what adverbs do. Compare these two sentences:
      A) You looked sad when I said that.
      B) You looked at me sadly when I said that.

      In those sentences A describes the person who is looking. B describes the act of looking. Sentence A could be rewritten: “You were sad-looking when I said that.”

  28. Shaul says:

    When do use ly like in independently and when do you add lly like in altruistically?

  29. Sam says:

    Hoping you can shed some light on a sentence I’m struggling with and whether the word deserves -ly.

    The sentence is “Help us make it possible for boys to grow up confident.”

    Should it be -“confidently”

    • If you are using the word to describe the process of growing up, the adverb confidently should be used. If you are describing what boys will become when or after they grow up (confident people), the word confident could be used.

  30. Sam says:

    how about remotely is it a adverb or adjective?

  31. Rick says:

    Which of the following sentences is correct and why?

    The hospital shall request a court hearing as required by law, concurrently with or subsequently to the administrative hearing.

    The hospital shall request a court hearing as required by law, concurrent with or subsequent to the administrative hearing.

  32. Virginia Brown says:

    In the following sentence, I think “incomplete” should instead be “incompletely”. Which is correct?

    Your product was packaged incomplete.


  33. Allen H. says:

    My local post office hung a sign that says, “Put all trash in containers and treat your post office respectably.”

    I know, in my heart-of-hearts, that they meant to say, “respectfully”. Yet, I cannot pinpoint a grammatical reason why.

    Both are adverbs to describe “treat”.

    My best guess is:

    “Treat your post office [respectfully],” means to show the post office respect.

    “Treat your post office respectably,” means that the manner in which I treat the post office should be worthy of respect.

    Am I on the right track? If so, either word seems that it would convey the same point,[throw your trash away]; but then, why does it feel so wrong? Thank you for your help and a wonderful site.

    • Yes, you are on the right track. The adjective respectable is usually used to describe something or someone of merit or importance, worthy of respect. The adverb respectably means “in a satisfactory way.” An example sentence is “The stock performed respectably, giving us a decent return on our investment.” We assume that the sign meant “treat the post office as something of merit or importance, worthy of respect.” We agree that respectfully would be a better adverb in this case to modify the verb treat.

  34. Cass says:

    Which is correct? Want to put this on a safety banner at work.

    Send me home safe.
    Send me home safely.

    • One could make a case for either option. We ourselves would use the adjective “safe” to describe “me.” In this case the phrasal verb send home is a linking verb, hence the adjective.

  35. sathi says:

    Is there a rule that explains a word that has -ly as suffix will describe the opposite meaning of itself when put in a sentence?

    Phase explain. Thanks in advance.

  36. Jess says:

    Is “She stared into his eyes deeply and pleadingly.” correct? Or should it be ‘deep and pleadingly’?

  37. krish says:

    What is reason of using ly word in the adverb. History, what about its

  38. Rick says:

    I’m writing a scientific paper and my old(er) coauthor/colleague, very experienced, thought it was funny that I was ending sentences with adverbs. He apparently had been taught that you should not. Was I taught … ummm…. badly?

    I noticed that some of your example sentences end with adverbs, so maybe I’m ok. But is there an argument about this? Or maybe the need to keep the verb and adverb fairly close together has mutated into a no-adverbs-at-the-end rule?

    • We often hear from people who had been taught certain “rules” that actually were myths staunchly held by well-meaning teachers. There is no rule against ending sentences with adverbs. That being said, we are pleased to hear about writers in the scientific community taking such care with grammar.

  39. Julia Avalos says:

    i have a doubt if we say: “She works hard” its is possible to say: “She works hardly”? if so what is the diference in meaning??

  40. Satcha says:

    Can you explain idiomatic adverbs please.

    • We assume you are talking about idioms that are used to modify or describe a verb, adjective, or another adverb. One example could be the idiom “at your earliest convenience,” meaning as soon as you are able without difficulty. When used in a sentence, such as Please contact our office at your earliest convenience, the idiom is modifying the verb contact.

  41. Vinita Kumari says:

    Is ‘hardly’ an adverb or an adjective?

  42. Athena says:

    Which is correct? “This sentence shall run consecutively to the first sentence.” Or, “This sentence shall run consecutive to the first sentence.”

  43. Jean says:

    Downhill is an adverb modifying the verb walking? Am I right? Is it always one word?

    He gets tired walking downhill.


    He gets tired walking down hill.

    What if it was downhills (with ‘s’)

    He gets tired walking down hills.


    He gets tired walking down hills.

    Thanks for answering in advance!

    • In your first example sentence the word downhill is used as an adjective modifying the gerund walking. Downhill is always one word.
      In the example sentence “He gets tired walking down hills,” the word down is a preposition, and the word hills is the object of the preposition.

      • Jean says:

        Another query from me I hope you won’t mind.

        “He struggles going up and down stairs.”

        He – subject
        struggles – verb
        going up and down – preposition?
        stairs – object

        Am I right?

        Thanks a lot in advance.

        • He is the subject, struggles is a verb, going is a direct object, up and down are prepositions, stairs is the object of the preposition.
          The sentence could also be written with a conjunction:
          He struggles when going up and down stairs.

  44. Julian Robles says:

    The second pop quiz answer is more slowly? I thought slower could work.

  45. Jen Trinidad says:

    love doesnt necessary/ necessarily comes from a lover. which is correct?

    • says:

      The adverb necessarily is correct; however, your sentence has other errors. As explained in our post When to Add s to a Verb, when the main verb (come) is used with the helping verb (doesn’t) and a third-person singular noun or pronoun (love), there is no added s. Also, the word doesn’t is spelled with an apostrophe, and your sentence should begin with a capital letter.
      Love doesn’t necessarily come from a lover.

  46. chybie says:

    “You’ll shortly receive an email with a copy of your filled answers in the form.” or “You’ll receive an email shortly with a copy of your filled answers in the form.”

  47. saya says:

    Why do people behave less respectful or less respectfully these days?
    Which one is correct?
    less respectful or less respectfully?

  48. Lam Thai says:

    In the pop quiz, ‘walk slowly’ was stated to be the correct choice instead of ‘walk slower’. However, there is nothing wrong in saying, “the train runs slower and slower,” right?

    • says:

      The site includes this usage note for slow:

      As an adverb, slow has two forms, slow and slowly. Slowly appeared first in the 15th century; slow came into use shortly thereafter. Both are standard today in certain uses.

      Originally, slow was used both preceding and following the verb it modified. Today, it is used chiefly in imperative constructions with short verbs of motion (drive, run, turn, walk, etc.), and it follows the verb: Drive slow. Don’t walk so slow. This use is more common in speech than in writing, although it occurs widely on traffic and road signs. Slow also combines with present participles in forming adjectives: slow-burning; slow-moving. In this use it is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.

      Slowly is by far the more common form of the adverb in writing. In both speech and writing it is the usual form in preverb position (He slowly drove down the street. The couple slowly strolled into the park.) and following verbs that are not imperatives (He drove slowly down the street. The couple strolled slowly through the park.)

      Therefore, we prefer The trains runs more and more slowly over The train runs slower and slower.

  49. Mike Walsh says:

    Which is correct?
    1. walked home sadly
    2. walked sadly home?

    • In English, an adverb typically stays close to the verb it modifies. The writer’s desired emphasis determines adverb placement (e.g., “walked sadly” or “sadly walked”).

  50. leena says:

    Which one is the right one?
    For once in a blue moon, the portrait of someone 7824 miles away abruptly appeared.
    For once in a blue moon, the portrait of someone 7824 miles away abruptly appears.

    • While both sentences seem a bit awkward, they could be considered grammatically correct. The first one is past tense and the second one is present tense. (Also, we recommend that you include a comma in “7,824.”)

  51. Elizabeth says:

    Which sentence is correct? (or neither)

    She held his hand awkwardly tight.


    She held his hand awkwardly tightly.

    • One of the accepted uses of the word tight is as an adverb. The American Heritage Dictionary provides further explanation in the following note: “Tight is used as an adverb following verbs that denote a process of closure or constriction, as squeeze, shut, close, tie, and hold. Tight denotes the state resulting from the process, whereas tightly denotes the manner of its application. As such, tight is more appropriate when the focus is on a state that endures for some time after the activity has ended …” Therefore, your first sentence is correct.

    • Missy Cougnet says:

      Is it
      I feel strong about my convictions.
      I feel strongly about my convictions.
      And why?

      • says:

        As the post discusses, if the verb is a linking verb involving the senses, such as taste, smell, look, or feel, ask yourself if the verb is being used actively. Are you feeling your convictions physically (e.g., with your hands), or are you feeling them mentally or emotionally? Your context indicates a mental or emotional conviction, so you would use the adjective strong to modify the verb.

  52. Laurie says:

    I have always wondered about the quote “All men are created equal.” Shouldn’t it be “equally,” since it is describing how they were created?

    • The word equal in this case serves as an adjective describing the word men in the quote. Equal does not so much refer to the manner in which they were created as it refers to all men being equal after they are created. Another way, possibly, of thinking about this is if all people were created equally we would essentially be clones of each other.

  53. Ruben Philipsen says:

    Which of the following phrases or slogans is correct?

    a) Facility Self Service: For online facilities services requests, malfunction reports, complaints or complements, quick and easy.
    b) Facility Self Service: For making online facilities services requests, malfunction reports, complaints or complements, quickly and easily
    c) Facility Self Service: For online facilities services requests, malfunction reports, complaints or complements, quickly and easily.


    • Although we are not clear on the full context, we prefer:

      Facility Self Service: For quick and easy online facilities service
      requests, malfunction reports, complaints, or compliments
      Facility Self Service: For making online facilities service requests,
      malfunction reports, complaints, or compliments quickly and easily

  54. Darla says:

    This is my absolutely favorite memory of my trip to Europe.


  55. Muthuraj G says:

    Which is correct & why?
    •The news of the gruesome accident shocked everyone.
    •The news of the gruesomely accident shocked everyone.

    • The word accident is a noun. As the post states, adjectives describe nouns and pronouns. The word gruesome is an adjective; gruesomely is an adverb. Therefore, gruesome is correct in your sentence.

  56. Levi says:

    “he sighs, . Work was tiring,” or “he sighs exhaustively. Work was tiring.” I wonder if the -ly is necessary in the first one. I notice that some writers use adverbs without the ly as a stylistic choice, but is it grammatically acceptable?

  57. Carlos Poitevien Cabral says:

    Can I say: a) This fact you could see positively or negativily. OR
    b) This fact you could see positive or negativily.

    Which one is correct and why?

    • says:

      The verb see can be either transitive (requires a direct object) or intransitive (doesn’t require a direct object).
      In “This fact you could see positively or negatively,” see is acting in a more intransitive context.
      In “This fact you could see positive or negative,” we would have to interpret “positive” and “negative” as direct objects and thus classify see as transitive.
      Please see our post Taking Charge of Transitive and Intransitive Verbs for more information.

      • Jeffrey Carlton says:

        I agree with your reply to the questioner but wonder why some people can’t see that if they rephrase their statements or questions to make the adverb or adjectives more obvious, such as, “Though you could see this fact both positively and negatively…”

        Changing the words around thusly seems to almost assure that the writer would know whether or not to use the -ly.

        • says:

          Such rearranging could be helpful to someone who is further along in their understanding of American English. Many of our website visitors who submit comments are still strengthening their knowledge of core grammatical principles.

  58. Monnisa Lewis says:

    Can you explain the difference between “godly sincerity” vs “sincerity of God”?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • says:

      If writing “godly sincerity,” you may be describing sincerity that is divine in nature without suggesting or identifying a particular deity.

      If writing “sincerity of God,” you are identifying the sincerity of a specific deity.

  59. Danny says:

    Writing on a delivery truck: “recipes made easy.” Shouldn’t it be “easily”?

    • says:

      “Recipes made easily” would be proper formal English in that “easily” modifies “made” as an adverb; the recipes are easily made. However, this is a case in which colloquialism and common vernacular can override grammatical accuracy. “Recipes made easy” is the way many people would say it (it’s more conversational, as well as more comfortable to say), and smart marketers recognize and adjust to that. In this context, being familiar and approachable has a greater effect than reinforcing linguistic rules.

  60. djl says:

    What about this?
    “Play guitar fast and easy.”
    Should this not be written as “Play guitar fast and easily,” or “Play guitar the fast and easy way”?

    • says:

      “Play guitar fast and easily” would be proper formal English in that “easily” modifies “play” as an adverb. However, “Play fast and easy” is the way many people would say it (it’s more conversational, as well as more comfortable to say), and smart marketers recognize and adjust to that. In this context, being familiar and approachable has a greater effect than reinforcing linguistic rules.

  61. Sarah says:

    What is the rule with “real quick”? I always correct people to say it’s “really quickly,” but a lot of us Americans say “real quick.” Is the correct form really quickly, as in “I need to speak to you really quickly about something”?

    • says:

      “Real quick” is considered informal and is more likely to to be used in conversation. To modify the verb “speak,” we recommend the adverb phrase “really quickly” in formal writing.

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