It seems that "in a manner such that it is wrong" should be "wrongly", not just "wrong"...

  • It's not. Please don't post mistakes or (as here) colloquial / dialect variants without linked, attributed references. 'Wrong' here is an example of a flat adverb usage, best avoided in academic writing. Commented May 20, 2020 at 11:25
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    I am sorry, I have no idea how to post linked attributed references, or what those are. Commented May 20, 2020 at 14:20
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    I've asked him to delete that misleading answer. 'I did that wrong' where 'I did that wrongly' would work (contrast 'She done him wrong') certainly uses 'wrong' as a (flat) adverb. How acceptable this is is something usage groups disagree on; certainly, it is best avoided in formal registers. Commented May 20, 2020 at 14:33
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    @EdwinAshworth (and whoever else has vote-to-close superpowers): I'd like to see this question reopened, as the quick/quickly answer does not fully apply to the wrong/wrongly adverbs (which are not always interchangeable). See Wrong and wrongly. Commented May 21, 2020 at 18:47
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    @EdwinAshworth Thanks! I didn't think of the distinction between result and process when asking the question. But "I was wrong" works only for immaterial things, like opinions, not for material results. So what would be a formal phrasing for material results? Commented May 21, 2020 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


Why is it “I did that wrong” instead of “I did that wrongly”?


"She arrived at the meeting drunk (adjective)." = "She arrived at the meeting [and she was] drunk." The adjective "drunk" is known as a depictive.


"She arrived at the meeting drunkenly (adverb)." = "She arrived at the meeting as if she were drunk." - she need not be drunk... perhaps she was ill or dizzy.


"He hammered the metal flat (adjective)." = "He hammered the metal [and as a result, it was] flat." - The adjective "flat" is known as a resultative.


"He hammered the metal flatly." (adjective) = "He hammered the metal in a plain, blunt, or decisive manner."[1]

The adjective is used as a free modifier/complement. "Wrong" is not an adverb, "wrongly" is.

Note: I shot him dead.


*I shot him deadly.


“I did that wrong” - I did that and it was wrong.

For further reading, "Resultatives Under the ‘Event-Argument Homomorphism’ Model of Telicity" by Stephen Wechsler, University of Texas at Austin is very accessible.

[1]definition from OED.

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    Please delete this answer. The question is (a) about 'wrong' used as a flat adverb form of wrongly, not as a depictive adjective (cf the arguably resultative, and certainly adjectival, example 'I marked question 7 wrong'. And (b) a multi-duplicate. eg '... pedantic prescriptivism. Some adverbs don’t change from their adjectival forms. These are known as flat adverbs. A few of the most common ones are close, deep, fast, quick, and right. Some of these have corresponding -ly adverbs with which they are interchangeable—for example, come quick and come quickly mean the same thing.– FumbleFingers' Commented May 20, 2020 at 14:29
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    @WS2 - I take your point and I think that the example is just within the margin to be accepted as adjectival. ++ Wrong and did are, as you point out somewhat vague - if we were to say "I cooked the eggs (i) mistakenly/ (ii) mistaken." we can see a difference that can transfer to "wrong" and "did". - "mistakenly" qualifies "cooked" but "mistaken" describes your state.whilst cooking - the result might or might not be the same.either way, "I did the eggs wrong." seems to be acceptable, but in formal style I would rephrase.
    – Greybeard
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 15:27
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    Please don't delete this discussion. It's enlightening for those of us who are learning. Commented May 21, 2020 at 18:29
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    @Philosopherofscience: The problem is that the answer is wrong. In I did that wrong, wrong is an adverb—and a perfectly acceptable one here. You can swap in a different adverb to see: I did that incorrectly. See Wrong and wrongly Commented May 22, 2020 at 18:05
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    @TinfoilHat Couldn't agree more. Greybeard answered the question wrong sounds more natural to my ear than Greybeard answered the question wrongly. The latter sounds somewhat stilted albeit grammatical. And the former doesn't mean the question is wrong; it means the answer is wrong.
    – JK2
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 3:59

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