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Is it a correct, commonly used way to state that something is different, but only marginally?

The night did happen but it unfolded slightly different.

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1  
-ly? –  RegDwigнt Nov 17 '10 at 13:09
    
Slightly differently to what? –  Steve Melnikoff Nov 17 '10 at 13:29
    
slightly differently sounds weird and incorrect. –  Anderson Silva Nov 17 '10 at 13:30
3  
"Slightly differently" is completely fine to me. What is wrong with it? –  Kosmonaut Nov 17 '10 at 14:23
    
If you are concerned about one -ly adverb modifying another, (which is entirely grammatical, if a bit of a mouthful), using something like "a bit" or "somewhat" in place of "slightly" might be more to your taste. –  res Nov 17 '10 at 18:11
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Differently, differently, differently...

Sorry, that missing adverb just bugs me.

I'm not sure what this sentence means, but grammatically, it should be

The night did happen, but it unfolded slightly differently.

Note that "slightly different" is a perfectly good adjective phrase. It just can't be used as an adverb phrase.

The third frog was slightly different [from the first two].

The third frog jumped slightly differently [than the first two].

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Why it can't be used with an adverb phrase? –  Anderson Silva Nov 17 '10 at 16:02
2  
Because different is an adjective, whereas differently is an adverb. Adjectives are applied to nouns (e.g. frog), but adverbs are applied to verbs (e.g. jump, or unfold). So the frog can be different (or quick, or beautiful), but it jumps differently (or quickly, or beautifully). It would be incorrect to say "the frog jumped quick" or "the frog jumped beautiful", and it is just as incorrect to say "the frog jumped quick". Similarly the night can unfold quickly or differently, but it can't unfold quick or different. –  gkrogers Nov 17 '10 at 17:14
    
@vehomzzz: I'm not sure I understand your question. Why can't what be used with an adverb phrase? –  Marthaª Nov 17 '10 at 17:57
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protected by RegDwigнt Sep 18 '12 at 11:28

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