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Which is correct: “drive safe” or “drive safely”?

If I were to write a sentence like:

I completed the task fairly quickly.

Is it correct, or would fairly quick be more appropriate?


They're both grammatically correct. The question is merely "Which do you prefer?" It's a matter of style. I prefer "I completed the task fairly quickly" or "I did it quick" [shorter form emphasizes quickness].

But maybe it'd be better to say "{quite / rather / somewhat} quickly" or "quickly enough" if you don't like repeating the /-ly/ ending.

The more formal your context, the stronger the argument for using "quickly" instead of "quick", which always sounds uneducated, except in set, informal idiomatic phrases like "I did it quick and dirty" ("quick and dirty" is usually used as an adjective phrase as in "He did a quick and dirty repair", but it can also be used as an adverb phrase), despite its attested use by poets and novelists in works of art and oral interviews.

For example, you don't necessarily talk to your wife or girlfriends as Lady Chatterly's gamekeeper lover Mellors did to Lady Chatterly just because that kind of talk was used in D. H. Lawrence's novel: You have to feel comfortable saying what Mellors said and she has to feel comfortable hearing it. Strictly a matter of style (not morality) and personal preference, unless you're trying to make a political point or a profit, and then you don't care about anything but the bottom line.

  • Girlfriend s really? – Noah Dec 21 '12 at 12:45
  • Why not? "When I wore a younger man's clothes", I sometimes (not often, thank goodness) had two or three girlfriends at a time, but it's too tiring and confusing. Now my only "girlfriend" is my desktop PC -- so says my wife. – user21497 Dec 21 '12 at 12:51

Were you thinking that quick is “not an adverb”? Sure it is. If you use it as an adverb, it is an adverb.

Here are some adverbial examples from the OED:

  • 1610 Shaks. Temp. v. i. 304 ― Such discourse, as··shall make it [the night] Goe quicke away.
  • 1667 Milton P.L. iv. 1004 ― The latter quick up flew, and kickt the beam.
  • 1840 Dickens Barn. Rudge x, ― The person who’d go quickest, is a sort of natural.
  • 1865 Tennyson On a Mourner iii, ― Nature··on thy heart a finger lays, Saying ‘Beat quicker’.
  • 1922 Joyce Ulysses 47 ― He [sc. a dog]··pissed quick short at an unsmelt rock.
  • 1936 C. Sandburg People, Yes 83 ― Some men dress quick, others take as much time as a woman.
  • 1968 Listener 11 July 38/3 ― I’ve never known a journey go so quick.
  • 1979 Times 23 Nov. 5/4 ― The brash and selfish values of a ‘get rich quick’ society.

With the exception of the last two examples from periodicals, you will note that those are not writers lacking skill in the English language.

However, they do also provide this note about using quick to mean what is now more commonly expressed as quickly:

This use is now usually avoided in educated speech and writing, though found in some standard colloq. constructions.

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