Native speakers like to use adjectives instead of adverbs??

Status
Not open for further replies.

Hugo_Lin

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
Hi, native speaker friends:

According to the grammar I learned, verbs should be modified by adverbs, right? But I've noticed native speakers prefer to use adjectives, and it seems to be so mainstream.

For instance:
Hire me. I work cheap.

Eat healthy.

He's real good.

She works real hard.​

I can't think of other examples for the time being.

Can you tell me if the above-listed sentences are acceptable?? Thanks!
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
The first sounds sub-standard. In the third, the adjective following a link verb is correct. In the fourth, 'hard' is an adverb.

That leaves only the third. This is the sort of snappy suggestion in which a breach of the rules of grammar is forgiven because of the crisp effect. There is also the point that 'eat healthily' somehow sems to suggests that there is some healthy way of chewing and swallowing, which is not what 'eat healthy' means.
 

Hugo_Lin

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
The first sounds sub-standard. In the third, the adjective following a link verb is correct. In the fourth, 'hard' is an adverb.

That leaves only the third. This is the sort of snappy suggestion in which a breach of the rules of grammar is forgiven because of the crisp effect. There is also the point that 'eat healthily' somehow sems to suggests that there is some healthy way of chewing and swallowing, which is not what 'eat healthy' means.

Thanks for the detailed explanation, Mr. 5jj.

But the key word in the 3rd and 4th is "real". I think it should be:
He's really good.

She works really hard.​

Both modifies the following adjective( "good" and "hard.")

I've also heard people say:"He's doing terrible." Is that also the sort of "crisp effect" supposed to be forgiven?
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
But the key word in the 3rd and 4th is "real". I think it should be:
He's really good.

She works really hard.​
Sorry. I missed that. I agree that, in BrE, it should be 'really'.​
I've also heard people say:"He's doing terrible." Is that also the sort of "crisp effect" supposed to be forgiven?
No. The fact is that the adjective/adverb difference is not one which is absorbed as readily, for example, the present/past difference. Adverbs are something that some childen encounter for the first time when they go to school, and some never master them.

You will therefore hear adjectivesat times when you would expect adverbs. You will not generally hear this from better educated people, and you will not often see it in print.
 
Last edited:

Hugo_Lin

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
Sorry. I missed that. I agree that, in BrE, it should be 'really'.
...You will therefore hear adjectives at times when you would expect adverbs. You will not generally hear this from better educated people, and you will not often see it in print.

Thanks, Mr. 5jj.

Then are they acceptable in AmE?
He's real good.
She works real hard.
He's doing terrible.​

Btw, I also heard the "He's doing terrible" from an American.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Thanks, Mr. 5jj.

Then are they acceptable in AmE?
He's real good.
She works real hard.
He's doing terrible.​

Btw, I also heard the "He's doing terrible" from an American.

If you hear "really + adjective" in BrE, there is a good chance that the AmE equivalent is "real + adjective", yes, but an AmE speaker will be able to confirm whether that is always the case.

For info, please don't refer to other users here as "Mr". This is partly due to the fact that many of us are female so "Mr" would be inappropriate, but also because there is no need for such use. Just use the username. Thank you.
 

Hugo_Lin

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
If you hear "really + adjective" in BrE, there is a good chance that the AmE equivalent is "real + adjective", yes, but an AmE speaker will be able to confirm whether that is always the case.

For info, please don't refer to other users here as "Mr". This is partly due to the fact that many of us are female so "Mr" would be inappropriate, but also because there is no need for such use. Just use the username. Thank you.

OK. Will bear that in mind. :)

And thanks for the answer. emsr2d2.:)
 

Rover_KE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 20, 2010
Member Type
Retired English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
This very morning, on BBC's 'Match of the Day', Harry Redknapp, a native English speaker from East London, said 'He done excellent'.

Students need to be aware that this sort of non-standard English is very common, but should not be copied.

If Mr Redknapp – a multi-millionaire – knows it's incorrect grammar, he doesn't care. He's paid for his football knowledge, not his use of English.

Rover
 

Hugo_Lin

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
This very morning, on BBC's 'Match of the Day', Harry Redknapp, a native English speaker from East London, said 'He done excellent'.

Students need to be aware that this sort of non-standard English is very common, but should not be copied.

If Mr Redknapp – a multi-millionaire – knows it's incorrect grammar, he doesn't care. He's paid for his football knowledge, not his use of English.

Rover

Very true but it's very hard for us to tell. Most people follow whatever native speakers said.

I've heard Americans say: "I done inviting him" or "I done doing something" for more than once. (btw, "for more than once" or "more than once"? "for" or not?)

Plus, speaking of sub-standard or incorrect English, I've noticed there're still unwritten rules governing what native speakers say. They might do it subconsciously, but however incorrect they might be, there're rules. I can feel it. Non-native speakers don't follow any rules. There's a difference.

Same thing applies to Chinese language.
 

emsr2d2

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
Very true but it's very hard for us to tell. Most people follow whatever native speakers said.

I've heard Americans say: "I done inviting him" or "I done doing something" for more than once. (btw, "for more than once" or "more than once"? "for" or not?)

Plus, speaking of sub-standard or incorrect English, I've noticed there're still unwritten rules governing what native speakers say. They might do it subconsciously, but however incorrect they might be, there're rules. I can feel it. Non-native speakers don't follow any rules. There's a difference.

Same thing applies to Chinese language.

I find "I done inviting him" very odd. I think it's possible that they said "I'm done inviting him" or "I'm done cleaning up after him". Here, "I'm done ..." means "I have finished ..." or "I have had enough and I'm not going to do it any more ..."

As far as Harry Redknapp is concerned, I don't think his being a multi-millionaire has any bearing on anything. He comes from an area of London where a lot of people speak non-standard English - they "talk common". Having said that, the use of "He done ..." is very common in soccer parlance. "The boy done well" is a rather odd phrase which was, no doubt, said once during a post-match speech and has ended up entering the language as a phrase which is now used for all kinds of situations. It meant originally "The player in question played well in that match".
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
I've noticed there're still unwritten rules governing what native speakers say. They might do it subconsciously, but however incorrect they might be, there're rules.
Do remember that the 'rules' that people subconsciously follow are not laws written out by some government dictator. They are generally usages acquired from birth onwards.

'I done it' shows a fairly sophisticated understanding of English in that the speaker 'knows' (subconsciously) that we generally use a past tense form if we wish to talk about an event in past time; The speaker also knows, though not formally perhaps, that the second (past-tense) form and the third (past participle) form are identical for over 98% of verbs in English.

It just happens that, for the majority of speakers of English today, the second and third forms of DO are different. This difference, and the use of the two forms 'did' and 'have done', are now accepted as standard English, and 'I done' is generally considered sub-standard.

There are still quite a few people who regularly use 'I done'. This may be for one of a number of reasons, including the acceptability of 'I done' in the speaker's own dialect or the deliberate rejection of what may be seen as authority or outdated middle-class standards.

We might say, perhaps, that 'I done' is not socio-culturally considered to be correct, but it is in some ways natural. However, while a minority of people might use 'I done' to talk about a past event, virtually everybody would reject 'I doing' for the same event. 'I doing' is not in any way natural.
 

TheParser

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
According to the grammar I learned, verbs should be modified by adverbs, right? But I've noticed native speakers prefer to use adjectives.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****


Hello, Mr. Lin:


I think that this information may interest you.


One day, someone asked Mr. Steve Jobs why he chose the slogan "Think Different" instead of "Think Differently."

Mr. Jobs explained that he wanted "different" to be used as a noun, as in "Think victory" or "Think beauty."

It also sounded like the popular "Think big." Mr. Jobs said, " 'Think differently' wouldn't hit the meaning for me."



James


* The source of this information was the August, 2012, issue of AARP Magazine (an American magazine for old people, such as I).
 

TheParser

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
***** NOT A TEACHER *****


Hello, Hugo:


This morning I was reading my favorite part of the newspaper (the comic strips, of course) and saw something that

immediately reminded me of your thread.

In a comic strip entitled "Tundra" by Chad Carpenter, two men are discussing a lazy dog that does not like to chase

automobiles. One man says to the other: "He's just not real motivated to chase cars."

I imagine that a teacher would say, "Change the adjective 'real' to the adverb 'really.' " And maybe a super strict

teacher might say, "Change the sentence to 'He's just not very much motivated to chase cars.' "

*****

Some outstanding ESL teachers in the United States suggest that you read some American comic strips every day.

You can find them on the Web. What are the benefits?

1. You will see how ordinary people speak.

2. You will learn lots of idioms. (You will need to check the Web or post a thread here when you read an idiom that you do not understand.)

3. You will learn a lot about American culture. For example, many of the comic strips today discuss a big American

holiday this Thursday. It is called Thanksgiving. Some people humorously call it "Turkey Day."

4. If I remember correctly, some teachers here have warned against reading comics because those strips may not

always contain standard English. From my experience, they usually do contain standard English.

5. If you read American comic strips every day and ask questions about anything that you do not understand,

you will see great improvement in your English. And they will give you an idea of how Americans speak.

6. Some American ESL teachers consider comic strips the "secret" to improving your English. Why not try it? You

have nothing to lose.


James
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
And maybe a super strict teacher might say, "Change the sentence to 'He's just not very much motivated to chase cars.'
I don't see why s/he should.
If I remember correctly, some teachers here have warned against reading comics because those strips may not always contain standard English.
I don't actually warn against reading comics, but I do suggest that people interested in passing recognised EFL examinations should not waste too much time worrying about the language they find in comic strips.
 

Hugo_Lin

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Member Type
Student or Learner
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
Thank you, James.

Very good advice. I have always wanted to read comic strips too. But never found one.

You can find them on the Web.

Where? I've searched, but there's few free comic strips.
(Sorry, I don't have enough money to buy , especially from overseas)


Allow me to stray away a bit from the main topic please. Speaking of comic strip, what I find most difficult is the words for describing sound and motion. When I first saw a comic strip, I did not even know what "bam" and "thud" mean. ....It's not that comic strips I'm interested in. Just that many people would use comic strip words like "bam" and "thud" when posting in forums. And I'd have difficult understanding.

I would really love to read more comic strips. Can you recommend some internet resourses?

I'm not studying for any examination. I just want to be able to communicate with native speakers. I still have great difficulty understanding soap operas.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
There are some comic strips here.
 

Tdol

Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Joined
Nov 13, 2002
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Japan
There are forms that are used in regional dialects that are not considered standard in the mainstream language. In London, you will hear many speakers say I done terrible, but I wouldn't do this in a test. :up:
 

TheParser

VIP Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2009
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I don't see why s/he should.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****


1. I assume that your comment is not rhetorical; so, I am delighted to answer.

2. We students of English come to usingenglish.com in order to learn current English. You teachers do a fantastic job in teaching us day in and day out.

3. I have been a member for almost 3 years. I know better than to gainsay a teacher. This post is not meant to contradict you. Since we non-teachers are currently allowed to state our views in the "Ask a Teacher" forum, I should, however, like to explain why some super strict teachers (if there are any left) might call for "very much."

4. IF (repeat: IF) I understand the most esteemed Mr. Swan (not to mention the fantastic Professor Dr. Curme!!!), here is the reasoning:

a. I think (repeat: think) that "motivated" is a verb form.
b. Technically, "motivated" is not an adjective.
c. Therefore, "very" cannot modify "motivated."
d. If one wishes to use "very," one must follow it with either "much" or "greatly." In that case, "very" modifies "much."

5. Thus, perhaps (perhaps!) we have these options:

I am real motivated to learn grammar. = "bad" English.
I am really motivated to learn grammar. = good, modern English. ("really" probably means "very" in that sentence, not "in reality.")
I am very motivated to learn grammar. = good, modern English.
I am very much motivated to learn grammar. = the kind of English that warms the cockles of the heart of the few people who still say "It is I" instead of the "awful" (only my opinion!) "It is me."


6. The cockles of my heart were warmed (actually burned up) when I read this sentence in my local newspaper. It was written by a foreign diplomat, who I assume had learned "perfect" English:

"I am very much confused by ...."

7. Of course, we students should accept the answers of teachers -- not the "answers" of non-teachers such as I. (I do not
agree that I need say "as I am.") Thank you for letting me respond.


Respectfully yours,

James

Michael Swan, Practical English Usage (1995), entries 153.4 and 405.4. (It goes without saying that the master (aka George Oliver Curme) discusses this on page 150 in Volume II of his masterpiece.)
 
Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top