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Bemoaning the Dying of the Adverb

At a networking meeting this morning, a fellow networker told me about how she sees  adverbs, the -ly suffix in particular, disappearing from everyday language. The example she gave: A newsreader says that something is real hard when he/she means really hard.

She has a point. I remember the “Schoolhouse Rock”  song, “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here.” It didn’t explain a part of speech as well as the songs about nouns, pronouns and verbs, but it did a good job of showing how -ly makes a word an adverb.

Then another networker came up to me and said he never forgot a gift he received when he was 13: a wallet marked  “genuine artificial leather.”

I laughed. Since genuine means “actually having the reputed or apparent qualities or character,”  I suppose that something artificial is genuine. But in reality, the correct word is genuinely, an adverb. Artificial is the adjective; genuinely modifies an adjective, as “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly” dutifully explains.

I miss “Schoolhouse Rock.” I also wonder if people know what a suffix is.

Until next time! Use the right words!


October 21, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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