Once in a while, I hear some people say: "Do it different" and wondering that if this is correct in grammar or not. Because as far as I know, a verb is supposed to be followed by an adverb, not an adjective. So in my opinion, It should be said "Do it differently" or "do it in a different way".

Still, I can feel that "Do it different" is somehow more natural than "Do it differently"

So please help me to explain this. I really appreciate that!

  • 1
    "Do it differently" sounds completely natural (and correct) to me. Oct 26, 2018 at 16:41
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    In formal writing, high-register speech, or when you're not trying to draw attention to the words you use but rather the content you're trying to convey, it's best to stick with "do it differently". If you used "do it different", people would take notice, and once in a while you'll encounter someone rude enough to comment on your grammar (ignore these people). However, there is a long tradition of creative grammar used consciously to draw attention and make an impact, and I'd say "do it different" falls into this category. Cf. Apple's "think different": a slogan designed to grab attention
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 26, 2018 at 16:46

1 Answer 1


I don't think that it's Standard English, but it is grammatical in some dialects.

Specifically, the 1895 NED (precursor to the OED), said said the following about use of "different" as an adverb:

Now only in uneducated use

However, it's pretty easy to find examples of it being used as an adverb. For example, Joe Biden said the following:

It’s impossible to think different in a country where you can’t speak freely. It’s impossible to think different when you have to worry what you put on the Internet will either be confiscated or you will be arrested.

For reference, I live near the area where Biden's from and his sentences sound fine to me.

Another notable example of it being used as a flat adverb is Apple's "Think Different" campaign.

  • It sounds to me like Biden was referencing the "Think Different" campaign, especially since he was talking about technological innovation. Oct 26, 2018 at 22:20

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