September 19, 2007 | Leave a Comment
It’s not just Bush who’s dropping the “ly” lately. (“We want to get this bridge rebuilt as quick as possible.”)
By Anatoly Liberman
The adverb is an endangered species in Modern English. One should neither wring one’s hands nor weep on hearing this news. In the course of the last thousand years, English has shed most of its ancient endings, so that one more loss does not matter. Some closely related Germanic languages have advanced even further. For example, in German, schnell is both quickÂ and quickly, and gut means good and well, even though wohl, a cognate of Engl. well, exists. Everybody, at least in American English, says: Do it real quick.Â Outside that phrase, which has become an idiom, adverbs are fine: he is really quick and does everything quickly. During his visit to Minneapolis after the collapse of the bridge, President Bush said: We want to get this bridge rebuilt as quick as possible.Â This is not a Bushism: few people would have used quickly here despite the fact that my computer highlighted the word and suggested the form with -ly.
Read more about the adverb’s demise in this article from the Oxford University Press