I was wondering if walk slow and walk slowly are both correct or if there's a difference between them.

English isn't my first language and I'm sure the rules I learned would only accept slowly as the right word, because it follows a verb.

When I search for walk slow on Google I still get 250,000 results and for walk slowly I get 525,000 results, so walk slow can't be completely wrong.

Which one is right?

  • Oxford shows that slow can be used as an adverb all by itself. See the example sentences.
    – tchrist
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 13:37
  • The use of adjectives as adverbs seems to be common in AE, especially with real, as in real good. Walk slow (or better still, walk real slow) sounds like dialogue from a western. Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 0:25
  • @DavidHandelman While the OED notes that real meaning very, extremely is chiefly North American and Australian (or colloquial), the earlier sense of really, genuinely from which it derives dates to 1645 (chiefly Scottish, Irisn, and of the north of England), before there was much to distinguish North American English, or any Australian English at all.
    – choster
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 1:42
  • Look up flat adverb (an adverb without -ly). For instance, see the links at this answer. Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 1:15
  • 1
    @David: In AmE real good, the word real is an intensifier meaning very. Anybody who thinks the British don't also use adjectives as intensifiers is just bloodily wrong. Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 23:08

5 Answers 5


Sometimes there are exceptions from certain rules. In this particular case, slow is almost similar to the word fast. 'Walk fast' is here the correct version. However, using slow it is 'walk slowly'. You could say 'walk slow' too, but slowly is more common. So we can see that these two words are definetely in marked contrast ;)

  • In the UK in the 50's and 60's I remember road signs with the words DEAD SLOW, warning motorists to slow down to a crawl, Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 12:56
  • 1
    "Walk fast" is correct simply because "fastly" isn't a word. Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 1:43
  • Fastly is a word. The OED lists most uses as obsolete and one usage (meaning "quickly, rapidly, speedily") as rare. @Andreas Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 1:11

Both sentences are right, as slow is also an adverb.

The differences between slow and slowly are listed as follows:

  1. Slow emphasizes one's statement (lasting), while "slowly " indicates a way of one's action ( temporary ).
    E.g. She walked slow. She walked slowly.
  2. Slowly can be used in many situations with flexible positions, either before a verb or after, and even put at the beginning of a setence. However, slow is used especially in the comparative and superlative forms, or in compounds. It generally follows some particular words such as "go, drive, run, speak, read, burn", or some intetjectional sentences led by "How".
  3. Basically "slow" is more strong than "slowly" in tone.

Ref: OALD7-E&C. Haici dictionary


It would be difficult to say that one is right and the other wrong based on an internet search because the phrases "walk slow", "drive slow", "drive safe", etc. are common place, primarily in North America.

Noting the dictionary examples others have suggested or linked to, I would emphasise that most examples put the adverb "slow" in front of a verb, for example "slow-moving traffic".

Based on your search, support is given to my personal opinion of sticking with using "slowly" or "safely" after the verb, despite the common place use of "slow" or "safe".

Google Safely!


Slow is an adjective.

Its use as an adverb is considered informal in standard English but seems to be standard in American English.

Other adverbial use is informal and usually regarded as non-standard, as for example in he drives too slow and go as slow as you can. In such contexts standard English uses slowly instead. — https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/slow

  • You talk pretty tough but I think you have managed to miss something crucial here.
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 12, 2017 at 0:53
  • What is the crucial thing that I have managed to miss?
    – Ade
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 13:28
  • You got it backwards. The -ly suffix forms adjectives from nouns, or adverbs from adjectives. If you double check your source, you will see that slow is not a noun, so slowly can not be an adjective. If you want to argue for a distinction, you need to argue that slow is the adjective, and slowly is the adverb.
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 3:58
  • @sumelic - yes sorry that was a typo (now corrected). I was referring to the word 'slow' - as indicated by the Oxford Dictionaries link below. Thanks for pointing out the error.
    – Ade
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 10:15
  • Why the additional downvotes? This is technically correct in British English. Slow as an adverb is informal in most contexts (as per the link above) but of course everyone understands it. It's equivalent to saying "You did good" instead of "You did well". It's curious that "fast" works the same both as an adjective and adverb. And I would say that it would make sense to formally allow slow to be used the same way as language evolves.
    – Ade
    Commented Nov 6, 2017 at 13:41

Walk slow sounds like a command or a statement. Walk slowly sounds more pleasing like a request.

If i were to command a group to slow down on a bridge i would tell them to walk slow.

If i were with friends, i would say, walk slowly.

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