Adverb: R.I.P.

My dear mother was a grammar Nazi, while I was growing up.

It’s possible that she still is, at the age of 86, but I’m not aware of it, because after all these decades, I take great care to use proper grammar in her presence.

So when I read something like this, I cringe:

“Snow is melting on the mountain quicker and exposing an increasing number of dead bodies.”

Yes, perhaps if I were normal, I would cringe at the idea of the dead bodies. But to tell you the truth, what I cringe at is the idea of the dead adverb.

My mother’s mantra was/is (I’ll express it phonetically for you first, then explain it):

“LEE! It’s an adverb! It tells how!

If I, in my youth, had said, “Snow is melting quicker,” she would respond with the mantra — requiring me to add ly (“LEE!”) to the adjective I had misused.

Snow is melting more quickly, not quicker … because melt a verb, and a word that modifies a verb must be an adverb.

And yes, Mother, an adverb almost always ends in LY.

Love you.

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