Adverb-gate: A Cold War Rages

schoolhouse-rock1The quiet passing of another “National Grammar Day” this month got me thinking. When did the nation stop using adverbs (not to mention grammar and punctuation), correctly?

I have noticed an alarming trend in the application of adverbs within our language. I am sure you have noticed it too… the dropping of the “-ly” from the descriptive word qualifying an adjective, verb or other adverb. For someone who grew up with “Lolly, Lolly,Lolly get your adverbs here” it’s like a slap in the face.

One of the biggest public offenders is the infamous Subway sandwich establishment with their tag lines “Eat Fresh” and “Baked Fresh.” I cringe every time I see their ads. To the wily marketing execs who green lit that phrase: IT IS GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT! The journalism and English degrees of your team members signify time not well spent. subway-logo-eat-fresh-2

We can also rightly gripe about traffic signs directing us to “Drive Slow” or to “Please Drive Careful.” I’d actually prefer a sign written by Homer Simpson with something like, “Safen up!” written on it when I see those other highway signs that do exist on the roads today.

think-different-appleNow one must admit that Apple just may be quite clever in putting forth their “Think Different” tag line and ads. They either fail or pass grammar depending on whether “different” is supposed to be qualifying the verb “think” or is supposed to be functioning as a destination (a noun) to which we are supposed to convert our thoughts.

Regardless, these examples (seen by millions each day), just cause confusion and set a precedent of bad grammar for new English speakers and generations to come. You don’t need a degree from Carnegie Mellon to get this right, so please tell your children, any immigrants you meet, and everyone else to put back the “-ly” and write smartly; grammar does not have to be executed so crappily.

punctuation-saves-livesOh, and the next front in this cold war? Punctuation!

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