We typically use adverbs to describe verbs, but there are exceptions. Would you rather say 'You glow different' or 'You glow differently'? Are both acceptable?

  • 2
    Do you see a difference between "He arrived drunk" and "He arrived drunkenly"?
    – Greybeard
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 14:16
  • 1
    What are these "exceptions" you're thinking of here to the rule that when describing verbs we use adverbs? Strongly related: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 15:49
  • Sometimes, novel(/ty?) usages are hard to pin down. Dodgy flat adverb or attempted resultative? Here, I can't see myself using either: perhaps "There's something different about you today ... a sort of glow." Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


As usual, both can be acceptable but they say two completely different things. You would say whichever one of those two you actually meant. We don’t know what you mean; the question comes down to you. You have to decide what you mean.

This in turn dictates whether (1) you want this to be a predicate adjective describing the subject, or (2) whether you want it to be an adverb of manner describing the action.

  1. You seem different today.
  2. You looked different in this picture.
  3. I thought you smelled different last night.
  4. Your face glowed redder the more embarrassed you became.

Those first four all take adjectives because they describe the subject not the verb.

In contrast, these last two take adverbs because they're the other way around:

  1. If you look differently at the drawing, you might see the hidden leprechaun.
  2. During the power outage the bulb glowed differently than it does today under an electrical current.

You cannot describe a verb using an adjective or a noun or pronoun or another verb. You use an adverb. It’s just that not all modifiers that follow a verb modify that verb. Some apply to the subject as predicate complements.

  • But I'd say 'different' after 'glow' is unacceptable (as a depictive [different from all others] or resultative [different from before] adjective), and the expression, if met, is one of the 'flatten any adverb' candidates. 'Think different.' Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 15:52
  • @EdwinAshworth If that's what she means, then you're right that that sounds atrocious. I took it as saying You seem different not more like You glow often.
    – tchrist
    Commented Aug 22, 2021 at 15:58

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