Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Use adverbs to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs

A headline from Saturday's Knoxville News Sentinel about UT post player Duke Crews: "Crews cleared to play, views game different."

In fairness to the headline writer, he was using Crews' quote from the story: "I look at basketball a lot different. You never know when it could be all over." [A few weeks ago, an echo-cardiogram had picked up a deficiency in Crews's heart, but the deficiency turned out to be not as life threatening as first thought.]

Last March, the News Sentinel commented on UT hoops coach Bruce Pearl's efforts to improve the Vols' 8-percent graduation rate: "Pearl's formula has been to let the players know he takes their studies serious."

Harbrace Rule 4a: Use adverbs to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs

NOT Leela played her part perfect.
USE Leela played her part perfectly. [The adverb perfectly modifies the verb played.]

NOT The plane departs at a reasonable early hour.
USE The plane departs at a reasonably early hour. [The adverb reasonably modifies the verb early.]

Most dictionaries still label the following as informal usage: sure for surely, real for really, and good for the adverb well.

INFORMAL The Broncos played real good during the first quarter.
FORMAL The Broncos played very well during the first quarter.

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