Frequently I hear Americans (admittedly mainly in TV/movies) say "personal" and "regular" in the following contexts:

"Don't take it personal."

"I like that he treats me regular."

Both of these are horribly incorrect to my British ear - I have never heard either here, it would be "personally" and "regularly", ignoring the fact that the second sentence is slightly awkward anyway (we would probably say "like a regular person").

My question is, do Americans 'know' this is incorrect, i.e. would John hear Jane speaking in this manner and think "her English isn't great" or whatever, or would it sound perfectly normal - is this an accepted use, that all Americans would use?

I could easily believe it would be the latter, since 'momentarily' for example has a totally different meaning in AE. ('in a moment for undisclosed amount of time' vs. 'for a moment at an disclosed time').


To the American ear, those would be perceived as incorrect usage, but in a folksy or down-to-earth way. In popular media, a certain amount of dialect speech is used to show groundedness or common sense. (Too much and you portray ignorance; it's a fine line.)

  • 2
    Thank you, that was exactly what I was wondering. Although part of me hoped for a terrible answer, so that I could downvote and say "don't take it personal" ;) – OJFord Jun 10 '14 at 12:21

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