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While grammatically the former one seems to be the only correct form (English is my second language, so let me know if I'm wrong here), the latter one appears to be used quite extensively, and I wonder if it's appropriate, too. Thanks!

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I've never heard "something worked perfect"... –  asymptotically Jul 28 '12 at 8:38
    
Well Google has 2 million results for "it worked perfect" - same thing. –  evgeny Jul 28 '12 at 8:41
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@evgeny: that's because the web is full of stupid people and as you can see from the number, there's a lot of them –  RiMMER Jul 28 '12 at 8:44
    
Hm. "It worked perfect" sounds so awkward. –  asymptotically Jul 28 '12 at 10:18
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@asymptotically: I think "it worked perfect" would be common in American English, where flat adverbs are used commonly, even though they're frowned upon by many prescriptive grammarians. It would be less common in the U.K. and the rest of the world, even though flat adverbs were common in Shakespeare. –  Peter Shor Jul 28 '12 at 18:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This is a common mistake of (mainly native speakers) today to use adjectives in this improper way, as in your example. There's no grammatical reason to do so, but unfortunately it's happening more and more, even in mainstream media, TV, radio, etc.

I'm adding a quotation from an article called "Do it Real Quick, Or The Death of the Adverb". Beware that I do not necessarily agree with the whole article (in case you decide to read it), but I definitely agree with this quoted part:

Adverbs are on the retreat in Modern English. Do it real quick has become the norm. We want to get this bridge rebuilt as quick as possible is a borderline case (quickly seems to be more appropriate). But it is enough to listen to the people around us, to observe adjectives replacing adverbs. A boy of ten comments on the speech of a person with an accent: “You are talking funny.” As ill luck would have it, the adverb funnily is rare, so that the boy had little choice. To a conservative taste he did it real good is a bit too much, but I fully realized what odds adverbs are facing only when I read in an undergraduate paper: “She sings beautiful.” On the same day I heard: “She is fragile and walks slow.”

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The use of adjectives instead of adverbs in this way has been around since before Shakespeare's time. (They're called "flat adverbs", and you can find some information about them by googling.) The usage of these in the U.K. decreased at some point. Their usage in America continued, although it was frowned upon by some grammarians. Speaking as an American, there is a whole alternative grammar of when you should and shouldn't use flat adverbs—e.g. "to bold go where no man has gone before" sounds absolutely terrible. Even among people who use flat adverbs, real adverbs are in no danger of dying. –  Peter Shor Jul 28 '12 at 17:45
    
Are flat adverbs on the increase in America? I think they are on the increase in writing, as people are now writing more like they speak. Are they increasing in speech? My guess is: not very much. Are true adverbs in danger of dying out? Definitely not! There are some constructions in which you can use flat adverbs, and some constructions in which you can't. Americans don't say "I'm perfect well", even those who would say "it works perfect". Rather than just complaining about people using flat adverbs, grammarians should try to discover the (unwritten) grammar governing flat adverbs in AmE. –  Peter Shor Jul 29 '12 at 13:08
    
The commonest example is in response to 'How are you' - 'I'm good, thank you'. Should be 'I'm well, thank you'. Drives me mad! The question 'how' asks for way or manner, so demands an adverb or adverbial expression in reply. –  Barry Brown Aug 1 '12 at 6:46

Perfect has been used as adverb since the fifteenth century, but such use is now non-standard.

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In the UK it may be nonstandard. In the US it's merely informal. –  Mark Beadles Jul 30 '12 at 0:30
    
@MarkBeadles: Sometimes hard to tell the difference. –  Barrie England Jul 30 '12 at 6:29

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