Which one is correct?

You heard it correct


You heard it correctly

Does the same apply to read it correct[ly]?

  • 4
    Let's imagine a far-fetched scenario. I use a computer; when I type text on it, it will make corrections for me. When it makes a correction, it plays a certain sound to notify me that this has been done. Yesterday I typed something wrong, and this correction happened, and the sound played. I turned to Bob, sitting near me, and said, "You heard it correct."
    – GEdgar
    Nov 25 '11 at 18:10
  • "You heard correctly", without the "it" at all.
    – Izkata
    Nov 25 '11 at 19:55

Correct is an adjective and correctly is an adverb. In Standard English, but not necessarily in other varieties of the language, verbs are modified by adverbs, so You heard it correctly is grammatical in Standard English and You heard it correct is not.

  • It's not the form but the function that say what part of speech a given word is. 'love' -can- be a noun or a verb. Correct n the standard dialect is an adjective, but in some varieties of English an adjective can -be- an adverb withou adding '-ly' .
    – Mitch
    Nov 25 '11 at 14:12
  • @Mitch: There are three tests you can apply to determine which class a word belongs to. The syntactic is certainly one, but the semantic and the morphological are also useful. As far as the morphological is concerned, if a word ends in ‘-ability’ you can be pretty sure it’s a noun. If it appears variously with the endings ‘-s’, ‘-ed’ and ‘-ing’ you can be pretty sure it’s a verb. If it appears variously with the endings ‘-er’, ‘-est’ you be pretty sure it’s an adjective. Nov 25 '11 at 14:35
  • Correct as a flat adverb necessarily invalidates your answer. Feb 28 '18 at 5:42

Correct (an adverb is needed to modify the verb heard or read):

You heard it correctly. / You read it correctly.

What may be throwing you off is the common expression "heard you right":

If I heard you right, we are going to need more money.

In that phrase, "right" is an adverb, even though it sounds like an adjective.


The standard way of saying this is

You heard it correctly.

There is a trend in many dialects of American English to allow the use of adjectives for adverbs in certain circumstances. This is one of those circumstances. If you think you're hearing "heard it correct" a lot from Americans, you are probably right.

If you click through, Google shows you roughly 500 hits for "heard it correct" and "read it correct", just as many as for "heard it correctly" and "read it correctly", and I presume that there are lots more hits for each of these phrases that they're not showing you. So this "mistake" is very common, although I am sure that "heard it correctly" is used much more frequently.

I wouldn't advise trying this at home unless you know how to do it right, because you may end up sounding absolutely terrible, even to American ears:

*He goes bold where no man has gone before.

  • But surely many of those "heard it correct" uses are ironic, to emphasize that "You heard it correctly but we all know it's wrong"? Nov 25 '11 at 16:28

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.