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Which is correct?

He created them flawless.

He created them flawlessly.

If flawlessly is correct, what is it an adverb of?

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3 Answers

Both are correct, but they mean different things. "He created them flawless" means that the creations were without a flaw, and "he created them flawlessly" means the act of creating them was performed without flaws.

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For example, if he made a mistake but then fixed it, his creation could be flawless, but the creation was not done flawlessly. –  David Schwartz Sep 7 '11 at 14:41
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Or, alternatively, if he designed them wrong intentionally, he could execute the design flawlessly to create things that are not flawless. –  jprete Sep 7 '11 at 15:30
    
@David Schwartz and jprete - good examples! –  James McLeod Sep 7 '11 at 16:10
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"Flawless" is an adjective which must modify a noun, and "flawlessly" is an adverb which must modify the verb. So in the sentences you gave:

He created them flawless

Here "flawless" modifies "them", as in, they were flawless after he created them.

He created them flawlessly

Here "flawlessly" can only modify "created", so the act of creation was flawless.

It's a matter of definition whether a flawless act of creation results in a flawless created object.

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Previous answers have explained the difference well. In grammatical terms, He created them flawless is on the pattern Subject-Verb-Object-Complement, whereas He created them flawlessly is on the pattern Subject-Verb-Object-Adverbial.

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