Advanced search

Dropping the 'ly' as in "Thinking postive" rather than "thinking positively"

(16 Posts)
hmc Mon 04-Apr-11 23:09:50

I am no grammatical wizard so could well be wrong, but it has always irritated me when people drop the 'ly'. In the following sentence shouldn't there be an 'ly'?:

"I could be depressed about it but I am thinking postive"

It just sounds as if it needs to be "thinking positively"

Which is correct? I used to be 100% certain you needed an 'ly' but have begun to doubt myself as everyone appears to drop it ...It sounds very sloppy to me, but perhaps I'm the one who is incorrect?

I know the world wont stop turning because of this conundrum but I need to know grin

scurryfunge Mon 04-Apr-11 23:21:08

I was always told the " ly" describes how you do something. So thinking positively shoes how your thinking is.

hmc Mon 04-Apr-11 23:21:35

Aw c'mon, there must be a pedant around somewhere. Do they not keep late hours?

hmc Mon 04-Apr-11 23:22:50

x-posts scurryfunge!
So then in that case scurry, it would seem that it should have an 'ly'...

scurryfunge Mon 04-Apr-11 23:24:10

I would use positively. It seems too abrupt and unfinished otherwise.

megapixels Mon 04-Apr-11 23:24:22

Yes I would think it needs a "ly". "I am thinking positive" sounds wrong. "Think positive!" as a statement/command sounds fine though.

MistyValley Mon 04-Apr-11 23:24:31

Yes- thinking (verb) positively (adverb)

Otherwise it would be thinking (verb) positive (adjective) - which is wrong.

TheFarSide Mon 04-Apr-11 23:25:40

Your reasoning makes sense. Did people take "positive thinking" and reverse it to "thinking positive" I wonder?

hmc Mon 04-Apr-11 23:32:55

In my experience people drop the 'ly' all the time, this was just the most recent example I have come across (on a students discussion board). The sentence was "As you say though its better to think positive, onwards and upwards as they say" - cringe! It is funny what irks isn't it? I am sure in return I wind up others through my grammatical errors ...

maizieD Mon 04-Apr-11 23:36:41

I think that 'thinking positive' is possibly an extension of shorthand 'think positive' for 'think positive thoughts'.

I, too, would go for 'thinking positively', but that's because I am a grumpy old woman who gets upset at the mangling of the English language that was used in my youth!

But you have to live with it because, believe me, 'incorrect' usage wins over pedantry every time sad

prism Tue 05-Apr-11 02:23:43

It's American. They are fond of phrases like "the kid done good" "You did real well", or even "you did real good", which show that if the English language had been invented there, it would probably have no adverbs at all. The only swear word I can think of in English that is an adverb is "bloody", and the Yanks (absolutely) never say it.

maizieD Tue 05-Apr-11 09:44:12

But 'bloody' is an adjective...(describes a thing, not an action)

I get very cross with my OH when he says his football team was 'beat' instead of beaten. I was amazed to find that the Duke of Wellington (a very 'correct' writer) was using 'beat' the same way in his dispatches, 200 years ago. Perhaps it's not such an 'American' usage as we like to think.

hmc Tue 05-Apr-11 14:36:31

shock at the Duke of Wellington. The evolution of language is quite fascinating really......

VictorianIce Tue 05-Apr-11 20:10:51

Was it Stephen King who said "The road to hell is paved with adverbs", or somesuch nonsense? ;)

Adverbs seem to be a dying breed: I'm good, He ran fast, etc etc.

campion Wed 06-Apr-11 00:45:53

Page: How are you, Sire?

King Wenceslas: I'm good!

weejimmykrankie Thu 20-Oct-11 17:09:09

There is an epidemic of this in American advertising, the best known being "Subway- eat fresh!". I always want to say, "fresh what??". There is an airline that says "fly safe", don't recall which one.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: