Absence of Adverbs

OK. As a Canadian, I get real upset when I see Americans foregoing adverbs, first in speech, and now in writing. Is this a usual accepted occurrence?

What are you talking about?


OK, then. Whatly are you talkingly aboutly?

Well, in real big games, players come up real big. And now the absence of the adverb is spreading to other verbs. And it’s annoying: honest.

Is this a question? Or an IMHO?

It’s a violent rant that was meant to be in the Pit. Remember, he’s Canadian.

No, I’m not intending this to be a pit topic. I’ve been lurking for a while and have been a guest for almost a month. But seriously, we NEVER say “real good” (etc.) in Canada, and I’m sure my other brethren English-speaking countries can corroborate.

I’m interested in the why, what, where, of this peculiar change in dropping the adverb.


Bullshit. Lots of Canadians say “real good,” as well as “Come up real big” and other such adverb-avoiding terms. I hear such things all the time.

Jeesh Rick. Not here.

What part of Canada, then?

If it’s any consolation, the “real” in “real good” is technically still an adverb.

“Real” is being used as an adverb when used in the manner described.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

It should most definitely be “really.” You can not say that something is “real” big, or “real” small. Similarily you can’t say something is “extreme” big or “extreme” small.

I’m not flaming, pitting, or whatever… I’m just stating that adverbs must follow certain rules…

Sorry, but it is you who are wrong. Look up the definiton of “adverb”. In the case of “real good”, the word “real” is being used to modify the adjective “good”.

Ahh, I don’t see that in the definition supplied? What am I missing?

Why is this not clear to you?

You also know little about grammar. If a word is used in the role in a sentence where you expect adverbs to be, then it is an adverb. For instance, consider this sentence which is possible in certain dialects around Boston: “That was a wicked good party.” In this sentence, “wicked” is used in the position where you expect an adverb, so it is an adverb. The fact that you or I or anybody else doesn’t like it being used as an adverb is irrelevant. The same thing is true of the sentence: “That was a real good party.” The fact that you don’t like this use of “real” is irrelevant to what part of speech “real” is in this sentence. In both cases I have given, these words are being used are synonyms for “very,” which is always an adverb.

There might be a case for saying that it’s not acceptable to use “real” as an adverb in formal written English, but that’s an entirely different statement. To say what part of speech a word is in a particular sentence in a particular dialect, you look at how the word is used there, not how it is used in other sentences in other dialects. I think you need to learn some elementary linguistic facts. You might start by reading the book Language Myths edited by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill.

What you seem to be complaining about is using of “real” instead of “really.” But Merriam-Webster considers “real” to be an adverb, albeit one mainly suited for informal use:

Do you have some other actual examples besides “real” instead of “really?”

From Merriam-Webster:

Function: adverb
: VERY <he was real cool – H. M. McLuhan>
usage Most handbooks consider the adverb real to be informal and more suitable to speech than writing. Our evidence shows these observations to be true in the main, but real is becoming more common in writing of an informal, conversational style. It is used as an intensifier only and is not interchangeable with really except in that use.

Sighhhh… OK, it seems to be accepted informally now. (It’s still freakin’ wrong though !)

OK - I admit defeat. And I really will do some homework before posing questions in the future.

Apologies. I real mean it. (pfff)