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Fast or quickly – which is right?​

I wrote this post very fast.

How does that sentence look to you? Does it look right?

Probably not. What about “I can run very fast”? Does that look right? It looks better, doesn’t it? But still not perfect, I imagine.

If you don’t think either of those sentences looks quite right, you’re correct. They’re not.

But WHY? Why why why why WHY?

They both get the meaning across, so you could argue (as many people do) that it doesn’t really matter. I wouldn’t agree but, as Mandy Rice-Davies almost said, I would say that, wouldn’t I?

That’s not the purpose of this post, though. We’re not here to debate whether grammar is important.

I’m here to help with common grammar mistakes.

Which should I use – fast or quickly?

Saying “fast” when we mean “quickly” is a mistake which many of us make on a regular basis.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s like this.

“Fast” is an adjective. “Quickly” is an adverb. “Quickly” modifies verbs. So in the sentence “Usain Bolt ran the 100m very quickly yesterday. He is a very fast runner”, the adverb “quickly” is referring to the verb “run”, while the adjective “fast” is referring to the noun “runner”.

Most mistakes are made by using an adjective instead of an adverb; it’s unlikely that you’d ever say “He is a quickly runner” or “I’m a regularly drinker”.

It’s not easy to tell the difference because although most adverbs end in “ly”, not all words ending in “ly” are adverbs.

The English language is a pain in the bum like that. But its orneriness is one of the many reasons I love it.

Does all that make sense?

– Do you love the English language?
– Or does it drive you nuts?

How do I make sure my grammar is right?

If it’s readable and makes sense, then I often tell people not to worry too much about grammar. My big issue is when it’s used incorrectly and changes the meaning of the sentence.

If you really struggle, and want your writing to be grammatically perfect, then that’s different.

You could ask a writer like me to write your copy for you or at least proof read it after you’ve written it. Give me a call on 07714 102661, email me on or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

If you’re on LinkedIn, connect with me using the button on the right. If you’d like to read all my LinkedIn posts about grammar and spelling, follow the hashtag #andrewonwriting by clicking this link here and selecting “follow”


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