Comments on Death toll for the adverb
Joined: Aug 01, 2013
Location: Toronto, Canada
Total Topics: 2
Total Comments: 19
Posted 08/16/13 - 9:44 AM:
Subject: Death toll for the adverb
English is an extremely organic language. Unlike other European languages, it does not have a 'keeper'; an academy or institute that sets its rules. The users of the language itself change it to fit their needs. This has a tendency, and perhaps a good one, to simplify the language. A trend that I have noticed growing more strongly over the last couple of decades has been the tendency to use adjectives instead of adverbs. Here are some examples:
COMMON USAGE: He works smarter.
GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT: He works more smartly.
COMMON USAGE: He writes bad.
GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT: He writes badly.
COMMON USAGE: I'm doing good, thanks.
GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT: I'm doing well, thanks.
How do you feel about this? Has the adverb grown into a grammatically archaic form? Would it not be easier to use adjectives to describe both nouns and verbs?
Of course, dropping adverbs could create ambiguity in the language:
WITH ADVERB: He was a young, smartly dressed professional.
WITH ADJECTIVE ONLY: He was a young, smart dressed professional.
There is no doubt in the first instance that smartly describes how he is dressed. In the second instance it sounds like he is young, smart and dressed.
(The commas do help a bit, but this is another part of written language that seems to be dying.)
Does it all even matter? Perhaps I'm the only one who lies awake at night mourning the lowly adverb.