I keep hearing the phrase "to buy direct" from native and non-native speakers. Shouldn't it be "to buy directly", because "buy" calls for an adverb or is this some sort of exception?


  • "In 2016, we had 2500 customer buying direct."
  • "More and more customer buy direct from us."

You are right, but it's not wrong---it just sounds that way. Direct as an adverb fell out of common use long before we were born, but marketing copy writers started using it again about ten years ago. At this point, I'm not sure "buy directly from..." sounds quite right anymore. I still think context will determine the best choice because you wouldn't say, "Go to jail. Go 'direct' to jail..."

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    Buy directly from does sound right. That does not, however, obviate the reality of AmE marketing-speak. – Lambie Dec 12 '17 at 17:33

For better or worse, the language evolves. Buy direct is well on its way to acceptance as a phrasal verb, at least in US commercial applications.

English users in the swamp of (American) commerce seem just as happy reversing the two elements: both buy direct and direct buy generate multiple hits from a quick Google search.

To compound the issue, both versions appear in portmanteau versions: DirectBuy and BuyDirect alike are alive and floating in cyberspace.

Alas the poor adverb...

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