Adjectives instead of Adverbs

Jo and I watched an episode of The West Wing about a new U.S. poet laureate a little while ago. She incorrectly used “I” (instead of “me”) in a sentence and it made me cringe. I understand a U.S. poet laureate does not have to be good at grammar, but I believe one should be. Shame on the show writers, too.

Anyway, that occurrence made me think of another grammar mistake that I’ve recently started to notice: the use of adjectives instead of adverbs.

The basics:

  • Adjectives modify nouns
  • Adverbs modify verbs

Examples of incorrect use:

  • “He is breathing normal again” is wrong because “normal” is intended to modify the verb “breathing” and should thus be an adverb: “He is breathing normally again.”
  • When someone asks you how you’re doing and you say, “I’m doing good,” you’re actually saying that you are doing good things because good is a noun here. You should actually say “I’m doing well.”

Interesting case:

  • “Slow” and “quick” can be considered adverbs in conversational grammar, so it is fine to say “Take it slow” instead of “Take it slowly.” But when you’re writing formally, you should use the formal adverbs “slowly” and “quickly.”

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