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RedfishHunter
12-10-2006, 06:00 PM
Is it correct to say 'Did you sleep good" Or "Did you sleep well"Also "Your doing good" Or Your doing well"(As in a child coloring in a book) Is this an Americanism?
Or just plain bad Engrish.

RealityChuck
12-10-2006, 06:12 PM
At this point, "Did you sleep well" and "You're doing well" are considered correct. The other versions aren't Americanisms, just grammatical errors.

DSYoungEsq
12-10-2006, 10:17 PM
Bad English. "Good" is an adjective, "well" is the adverbial form. "Did you sleep good" attempts to describe "sleep" with an adjective, a grammatical no-no.

One that is quite prevalent among Americans today, I hate to say. We drive fast, we go slow, we play good, we do all sorts of things adjectivally. :smack:

Frylock
12-10-2006, 11:00 PM
"Drive quickly" does not seem to me to mean the same thing that I would mean were I to say "drive fast." Do others share this intuition? Can we think of some "grammatically correct" way to say what is meant by the phrase "drive fast?"

-FrL-

Blake
12-10-2006, 11:25 PM
"Drive quickly" does not seem to me to mean the same thing that I would mean were I to say "drive fast." Do others share this intuition?

I certainly do. "Drive quickly" means that the entire trip is completed rapidly. So I might ask someone to drive quickly to the depot and pick up some supplies. That isn't the same thing as asking someone to drive fast.

Can we think of some "grammatically correct" way to say what is meant by the phrase "drive fast?"

I suppose "drive at high speeds", which is cumbersome.

Honestly this seems like a "rule" that someone has attempted to impose on English, rather like not splitting infinitives.

"Fast" is like "good", "wrong", "ill" and many other English words in not being strictly adjectival. There is nothing wrong with referring to someone "doing good" or "speaking ill" or "going wrong". And similarly there is nothing wrong with speaking of someone "driving fast".

In all these cases it seems like the difference is that the "adjective" is being employed as an absolute value judgement. A person who gives to the poor "does good". He wouldn't be said to be "doing better" if he gave more money, he would still be doing good. The same is true of a person "speaking ill". Adding more slanders will not mean the person is "speaking worse". Ditto for someone "going wrong". Such a person won't be "going worse" is he commits other acts.

The same standard applies to "driving fast". A person won't be "driving faster" if she increases her speed (except pedantically). It's an absolute. A person is either driving fast or they are not.

And if such constructions are good enough for every major English writer and orator from Shakespeare to Churchill I'm not going to stop using them, because someone somewhere decided they are flawed.

Sattua
12-11-2006, 12:09 AM
Not bad English, just nonstandard dialectal usages.

I hate it when you people get prescriptive.

Canadjun
12-11-2006, 07:18 AM
Is it correct to say 'Did you sleep good" Or "Did you sleep well"Also "Your doing good" Or Your doing well"(As in a child coloring in a book) Is this an Americanism?
Or just plain bad Engrish.
It's neither "Your doing good" nor "Your doing well". It's "You're doing well".

Random
12-11-2006, 08:09 AM
...you people....




SDMB denizens, English language mavens, or some other group?

JKellyMap
12-11-2006, 08:31 AM
We drive fast, we go slow, we play good, we do all sorts of things adjectivally. :smack:

Shouldn't that be "we do all sorts of things adjectival"? ;)

AskNott
12-11-2006, 09:36 AM
On doing good:
I agree that it should usually be "doing well," but if you're doing volunteer charity work, aren't you "doing good?"

On driving at a high rate of speed:
Maybe "rapidly" is the word we're looking for.

Polycarp
12-11-2006, 09:50 AM
On "drive fast" -- "fast" is, besides being an adjective (and a verb with an entirely different meaning-- "When I was a kid, fast food was what you ate during Lent" ;)), an adverb synonymous with "rapidly." Because most English adverbs end in -ly, it's a common fallacy to think that non -ly constructions are always grammar/usage errors. There are a large number of exceptions to that, and this is one.

The question to ask yourself is whether the odd word after the verb is modifying the verb ("to go fast") or the subject ("The horse was fast" is equivalent in meaning to "It was a fast horse"). Watch out for some tricky constructions -- there are a lot of predicate adjectives in odd places. If Fido had a run-in with a skunk, "The dog smelled bad" is completely accurate -- "bad" is a predicate adjective in format, snaking meaning from the verb to produce the equivalent of "the bad-smelling dog." The -ly form in this context would swap the meaning to "The dog has nasal congestion interfering with its sense of smell."

DSYoungEsq
12-11-2006, 10:40 AM
On doing good:
I agree that it should usually be "doing well," but if you're doing volunteer charity work, aren't you "doing good?"In which case, "good" is a noun.

As for driving "fast," I see that Merriam Webster Online asserts it can be an adverb. I'm at school, so I cannot go look at my older dictionary, but I have little faith that "fast" has been an adverb all along. I am quite well aware that not all adverbs end in "-ly" which causes all sorts of trouble when you teach adverbs to kids for the first time.

And stop working on the red herrings. The main point is that the usage in the OP is not correct grammar. And incorrect grammar doesn't become acceptable grammar just because a nation of uneducated people chooses to use it that way, at least not until the majority of the establishment throws up its hands and says, "alright already, we give!" :rolleyes: :p

Chronos
12-11-2006, 03:49 PM
I'm at school, so I cannot go look at my older dictionary, but I have little faith that "fast" has been an adverb all along.If "fast" isn't or shouldn't be an adverb, then what's the adverb equivalent to it? Don't say "quickly", since that's the adverb for "quick". And I'm pretty sure that "fastly" isn't a word (or at least, not with the speed meaning... One might be able to tie a rope fastly).

Eonwe
12-11-2006, 03:56 PM
And, while we're on topic, if the world did stop, would we actually melt with each other?



And Chronos, do all adjectives have to have an adverb form? (not that I'm saying you're wrong in this case, just curious. It seems to me that there surely must be some adjectives that just don't have adverbial forms. Maybe not, though).

DSYoungEsq
12-11-2006, 05:01 PM
If "fast" isn't or shouldn't be an adverb, then what's the adverb equivalent to it? Don't say "quickly", since that's the adverb for "quick". And I'm pretty sure that "fastly" isn't a word (or at least, not with the speed meaning... One might be able to tie a rope fastly).

As we have discussed in other threads, you don't always have a good equivalent word to something that is hard to express otherwise. And although quickly may be the adverbial form of quick, that does not preclude it from meaning accomplishing something in a manner that is fast.

I drive quickly. My car is fast.

I suspect that it simply started to be the case that fast got used instead, and became an accepted usage. Someone is free to offer a citation to when fast first started being used as an adverb, and I'll be happy to recant my suspicion. :)

12-11-2006, 05:08 PM
Is it correct to say 'Did you sleep good" Or "Did you sleep well"Both are quite incorrect -- this is a personal, private matter, and it is rude to question someone about it.

Polycarp
12-11-2006, 05:35 PM
If "fast" isn't or shouldn't be an adverb, then what's the adverb equivalent to it? Don't say "quickly", since that's the adverb for "quick". And I'm pretty sure that "fastly" isn't a word (or at least, not with the speed meaning... One might be able to tie a rope fastly).

And right there is the proof you seek: if I tie a rope fast, I'm doing it with celerity; if I tie a rope fastly, I'm doing it with secureness, and may take my time to make sure it's a firm, unslippable knot. (On the other hand, to make this just a bit more confusing, I can tie a boat fast to the dock piling, which is equivalent to tying the rope fastly.)

Jamaika a jamaikaiaké
12-11-2006, 10:46 PM
And stop working on the red herrings. The main point is that the usage in the OP is not correct grammar. And incorrect grammar doesn't become acceptable grammar just because a nation of uneducated people chooses to use it that way, at least not until the majority of the establishment throws up its hands and says, "alright already, we give!" :rolleyes: :p

I think you are confused. Grammar is, in fact, determined by usage, whether you like it or not. All living languages change all the time. If a language isn't changing, it's dead. The Gov't of France would like to stop the French language from changing, but they ain't gonna.

Furthermore, it's not just the 'uneducated masses' who use "You're doing good." It's most Americans who speak English. It's not dialectical or stylistic, it is just how the language is used. And I'm sorry if it bursts your bubble, but, yes, that makes it correct. If it doesn't, then what does? I would recommend you (and most people) take an introductory course in Linguistics.

And, for the love of Pete, this isn't even a recent change.
The Oxford English Dictionary lists 'good' being used as an adverb to mean "qualifying a vb. In a good manner; well; properly"
since 1380AD:
"c1380 WYCLIF Sel. Wks. III. 130 And gode marke how Crist..bad his gostly knyghtes go into al {th}o world."
Through to the present day:
"1971 Observer (Colour Suppl.) 21 Nov. 65/1 If he makes it [sc. steel] good, it rolls good. [Steelworks in Cumberland.]"


While I concede that there is a prescriptive standard for formal written language, the OP asked which is correct to say, and since language is primarily a spoken phenomenon, this is the setting I'm assuming.

Frylock
12-11-2006, 11:05 PM
I think you are confused. Grammar is, in fact, determined by usage, whether you like it or not. All living languages change all the time. If a language isn't changing, it's dead. The Gov't of France would like to stop the French language from changing, but they ain't gonna.

To be clear, DSYoungEsq hasn't implied that languages don't change. He's come closer to implying that they shouldn't change, but he hasn't really even said that.

I would have an aesthetically negative reaction to the situation should languages stop changing, but others would have a positive reaction. I don't see any useful thing to say about which is "right"--looks like a matter of taste to me.

When we say "Grammar is determined by usage" and when we say "Usage X is good grammar, while usage Y is not" we generally are using "grammar" in different senses in the two cases. The grammar you say is determined by usage is not the same grammar DSYoungEsq is talking about.

-FrL-

OpalCat
12-12-2006, 01:11 AM
Regarding driving quickly vs driving fast... when I think of driving fast, it is not my driving which is fast, it is my car. My driving--that is the movements of my hands on the steering wheel, my feet on the pedals, etc--doesn't really change speed no matter how fast the car is moving. This is my justification. Driving fast=fast actually modifies the car, in a roundabout way, rather than the driving.

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