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Which is correct: “drive safe” or “drive safely”?

Sometimes I see sentences like "I can do something really quick", rather than "I can do something really quickly".

My questions are:

  • Is "I can do something really quick" correct in grammar?
  • Is the usage of "verb + adj" a common pattern in English? If so, what's their key difference with "verb + adv"? And can you also make some other examples of using the "verb + adj" pattern?
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possible duplicate of Which is correct: "drive safe" or "drive safely"? and see question #44976 and question #49597 –  jwpat7 Aug 12 '12 at 5:51
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marked as duplicate by jwpat7, kiamlaluno, Matt Эллен, Mitch, Mahnax Aug 23 '12 at 6:14

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2 Answers

Your mistake is thinking that quick can only do the job of an adjective. In fact, the word quick can function as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb in English. The OED says of it the following, with selected citations:

C. adv. 1. a. = quickly. This use is now usually avoided in educated speech and writing, though found in some standard colloq. constructions.

  • 1788 Charlotte Smith Emmeline (1816) IV. 55, ― I am going··to Havre, whence I shall get the quickest to Southampton.
  • 1840 Dickens Barn. Rudge x, ― The person who’d go quickest, is a sort of natural.
  • 1865 Tennyson *On a Mourne*r iii, ― Nature··on thy heart a finger lays, Saying ‘Beat quicker’.
  • 1874 Green Short Hist. ii. 88 ― A peaceful invasion··followed quick on the conquest of the Norman soldiery.
  • 1936 C. Sandburg People, Yes 83 ― Some men dress quick, others take as much time as a woman.
  • 1968 Listener 11 July 38/3 ― I’ve never known a journey go so quick.
  • 1979 Times 23 Nov. 5/4 ― The brash and selfish values of a ‘get rich quick’ society.

There is also this adverbial use:

2. Used imperatively. (In some cases perh. representing the adj. in the phr. be quick!) See also quick march 2.

  • 1596 Shaks. Merch. V. ii. ix. 1 ― Quick, quick I pray thee, draw the curtain strait.
  • 1604 Shaks. Oth. V. i. 3 ― Quicke, quicke, feare nothing; Ile be at thy Elbow.
  • 1822 Shelley tr. Calderon iii. 176 ― Livia, quick, bring my cloak.
  • 1852 Mrs. Stowe Uncle Tom’s C. v. 31 ― Get on your clothes, old man, quick!
  • 1872 Tennyson Gareth & Lynette 147 ― Nay-quick! the proof to prove me.

There are lots of seeming-adjectives that can be used adverbially. For example, you can have fast women who run fast.

You should probably read this answer on the nature of adverbial constructions.

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+1 for part 1. I think the examples in part 2 are either the same as in 1 or are adjectives used with implied reflexive verbs. –  bib Aug 12 '12 at 20:41
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At one time it was likely proper to use the form "quickly", and of course it still is. But languages change somewhat over the years, and it is likely acceptable to use the shortened version as an adverb as well, now. An example I wouldn't be surprised to hear anyone say is, "I can get that done pretty quick." As opposed to "I can finish that quickly." Both work, but the latter sounds more formal.

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