GrammarPhile Blog

Do you write really good? Please say it ain't so!

Posted by Julie DeSilva   Sep 27, 2011 5:30:00 AM

car crashDon't "wreck" your writing by misusing adverbs as adjectives, and don't "get lost" misusing adjectives as adverbs.

She drives really good is wrong because good modifies the verb drives and thus should be the adverb well. She drives real well is wrong because real modifies the adverb well and thus should be the adverb really. She drives real goodis, of course, a double error.

Most of us are unlikely to use adjectives as adverbs except when being deliberately slangy. Note that I drive slow in town is not an error. Some common adverbs have two forms; both slow and slowly can be adverbs, though the only adjectival form is slow.

Don't automatically correct an "adjectival" form that seems idiomatic as an adverb; check the dictionary - it may be a legitimate adverb too. In fact, real is very frequently an adverb in casual speech and is accepted as such by dictionaries - it means very rather than genuinely or veritably and hence is distinct from really - and therefore she drives real well, condemned in the preceding paragraph, has been granted some license.


Topics: adverbs, adjectives, writing tips

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