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Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large
The adverbs "slow" and "slowly"
Tuesday February 24th 2009
Question
The adverbs "slow" and "slowly"
Answer

Can the adverbs slow and slowly be used interchangeably? Editor Emily Brewster answers William's question:

The adverbs slow and slowly are actually not used in exactly the same way. A usage note at the entry for the adverb slow in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary explains:

Slow is almost always used with verbs that denote movement or action, and it regularly follows the verb it modifies  <beans . . . are best cooked long and slow —Louise Prothro>. Slowly is used before the verb <a sense of outrage, which slowly changed to shame —Paul Horgan> and with participial adjectives <a slowly dawning awareness . . . of the problem —American Labor>. Slowly is used after verbs where slow might also be used <burn slow or slowly> and after verbs where slow would be unidiomatic <the leadership turned slowly toward bombing as a means of striking back —David Halberstam>.

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