Do adverbs really matter?

English grammar and usage issues

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Do adverbs really matter?

Unread postby mikeclark » 09 Jul 2012, 17:21


To enlarge the size or find renown
Why do we write or make it big
not bigly? (See that teacher frown
or parent laugh.) Who gives a fig
about those ancient adverb rules,
the ones we may have learnt at school?
“John’s writing’s neat and tidy, but
He writes so neatly ..... Yes, don’t tut ......
Exceptions: (Neatly underline)
Speed up! Work fast. Come on! Play hard.”
We wrote this stuff, rewrote on card
When questioned: “How’s your English?” .... “Fine!”
But grammar speaks, it’s never dumb
And rules become more rules of thumb.

Will “Please work quietly.” “Play chess well
remain intact. Rule: hard and fast?
or, as it blurs, just who can tell
if, once things change, the dye is cast?
Now, when a friend asks how you are
“I’m good” is standard parlance, par.
“I’m well” sounds stilted. You’re a snob -
but “Fine” and “Not bad” – just the job!
When nearly late, we “cut it fine”
not “finely”. That’d be absurd!
It simply wouldn’t be the word.
No need to check it out on line!
But, if situations, tricky, sad
get worse, should we all say “well bad”?

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