Those who do not reach the venue by 9 AM, will strictly be dealt with a penalty.

Is the above sentence grammatically correct? Specifically the positioning of 'strictly'

  • 2
    I would probably say "will be strictly dealt with", or "will be dealt a penalty". Ajax, you may not be aware that our other site English Language Learners is the best place to look for answers on English questions that a fluent speaker would find trivial. If you have a question for ELL, be sure to read their guidance on what you can ask. :-) – Chappo Hasn't Forgotten Monica Dec 2 '18 at 10:12
  • 1
    Because of the phrasing it sounds like, despite the meaning of the word strictly, it's trying to say that people will be promptly dealt with. Given the sentence structure and the word's placement, that's what my mind wants to translate it into. – Jason Bassford Dec 2 '18 at 14:31
  • No; never, and that's nothing to do with the position of "strictly". In "Those who do not reach the venue by 9 AM, will strictly be dealt with a penalty" the word "strictly" adds confusion; nothing else. To make that English, you might use "… be dealt with by penalty" but do you see no difference? – Robbie Goodwin Dec 12 '18 at 0:31
  • 2
    The problem here is that the sentence does not make sense. The strictly is a red herring for the real problem; delete it and notice that the sentence isn't grammatical. – tchrist Jan 2 '19 at 5:47
  • I'll suspend my usual dislike for the suffix "-ize" and point out that "dealt with a penalty" is a certainly awkward and possibly ungrammatical way to say "penalized". – Andreas Blass May 2 '19 at 3:04

The intended meaning is not completely clear. One possible meaning is that all latecomers will be penalised - no exceptions. That would be applying the rules strictly. Another possible, but less likely, meaning is that exceptions may be allowed: the sense of strictly being that "that is what the rules say, but we have discretion to be lenient". That sense is more often seen in the expression "strictly speaking...".

You do not say why you ask the question. The sentence does read slightly oddly to me, but there is no rule that prohibits placing an adverb as strictly is placed in that sentence. To see that, replace 'strictly' with 'generally' and you get an unexceptionable sentence.

So if there is a problem, apart from slight ambiguity, it is not grammatical, but a matter of style. The sentence might be improved stylistically by moving 'strictly' to follow with.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.