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When can I use -ly?

Asked by [ Admin ]

Consider:

I have a 2001 Ford Escape, and it runs perfect.

Why isn't it the following?

I have a 2001 Ford Escape, and it runs perfectly.

NN comments
donald remero
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You could add an apostrophe to year, that is ‘01, to denote it as a contraction of 2001, and also a comma before “and” because it joining independent clauses.

peter mortensen
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Remero: thanks for the correction. I chose 2001 as I am 4 digit year person.

peter mortensen
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Remero: Done. Thanks for the correction, please don’t hisitate to comment on any of my posts at any time. I chose 2001 as I am 4 digit year person.

peter mortensen
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Remero: Done. Thanks for the correction, please don’t hisitate to comment on any of my posts at any time. (I chose 2001 as I am 4 digit year person.)

peter mortensen
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Remero: Done. Thanks for the correction, please don’t hisitate to comment on any of my posts at any time. (I chose 2001 as I am fierce 4 digit year person.)

peter mortensen
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Remero: Done. Thanks for the correction, please don’t hisitate to comment on any of my posts at any time. (I chose 2001 as I am a fierce 4 digit year person.)

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1 answer

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donald remero [ Moderator ]

Leaving aside the notion that the bare facts of the sentence are completely unbelievable, though I readily admit I have not driven a Ford lately, I am happy to assert that it should in fact read "...and it runs perfectly," and it should read that way every time.

Perfect is an adjective. Perfectly is the adverbial form. This is an adverbial usage. Adjectives don't modify verbs; adverbs do. Therefore, "perfectly" is the only correct usage.

Colloquially, however, there is a clear trend toward this kind of usage. I see it increasingly used on news broadcasts and in other mass-media outlets where I would expect them to know better.

It probably all has to do with a general lowering for standards of formality that has occurred across the cultural spectrum as the simple consequence of mass media itself becoming more common.

For me these colloquial usages still speak of an inadequacy of education, an inattention to detail, or both in the basic habits of one's life. Some would say this is prudish -- fine; the people who say that are hicks.

I've been meaning to get my hands on the latest version of the AP style guide, because I would very much like to know more about why they and other editorial guidelines have moved away from adjectival endings. Few people write "Israeli forces" anymore; there has been a clear decision to move toward "Israel forces."

The Chicago manual refers to this usage of a noun used as an adjective as an "attributive use" of the noun.

I am not, however, aware of any formal defense of the use of adjectives as adverbs.

NN comments
peter mortensen
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Another excellent answer. Google did not suggest a different spelling when searching for (including the quotes) “it runs perfect”. I have now changed it at the source (not the example used in the question), http://serverfault.com/questions/33002

peter mortensen
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Another excellent answer. Doing a Google search did not suggest a different spelling when searching for (including the quotes) “it runs perfect”. I have now changed it at the source (not the example used in the question), http://serverfault.com/questions/33002

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