How to Be Quicker to Write More Quickly
by Owen Fourie
We all make mistakes.
Even if you have been writing and teaching this art for many years, as I have, it is not a guarantee that your writing will be free of errors.
In an article in another blog, I wrote this:
However, as the use of the Internet increases the speed of communication and as life changes more rapidly, the incorporation of new words and phrases is happening quicker than in earlier generations.
There is an error there. I caught it and corrected it before the article was published.
Quicker versus more quickly
What is the error?
- Look at the first part of the sentence.
- See that the verb changes is correctly modified by the adverb rapidly.
- Look at the second part of the sentence.
- See that is happening is modified by quicker—an adjective.
- Remember that adjectives modify nouns, not verbs.
- Ask, “How is this happening?”
- Accept only an adverb, not an adjective, as the correct answer.
- Supply the comparative form of the adverb quickly as the answer.
Here is the corrected sentence:
However, as the use of the Internet increases the speed of communication and as life changes more rapidly, the incorporation of new words and phrases is happening more quickly than in earlier generations.
How is this happening? It is happening more quickly, not quicker.
In formal writing and speaking, it is necessary to keep to this usage. What you have to remember when you choose between quicker and more quickly is set out in this tabulation for your convenience:
|Part of Speech||Adjective||Adverb(comparative form)|
|Function||Modifies a noun||Modifies a verb|
In spoken English, expressions such as the following are quite common:
- I can do this quicker than you.
- This will help you to do it quicker.
Let’s correct these statements:
- I can do this more quickly than you.
- This will help you to do it more quickly.
Test this by asking, “How will you do it?” The answer requires an adverb, not an adjective.
Of course, if you discover a fire in a building, you should say, “Get out—quick!” Instead of being picky about your grammar, people will thank you for alerting them to the danger.
Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome. If there are other instances of common usage that make you wonder if they are acceptable in formal usage, ask here for clarification.
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