Real (adverb)

“Real” is not an adverb. It is an adjective. If you remember back to your school days (and I know it’s tough with all the bong residue clouding your memory) an adjective modifies a noun, while an adverb modifies an adjective, or another adverb. So, for example, the following is grammatically correct:

That guy is a real asshole.

This is not grammatically correct:

My asshole is real itchy.

But in common parlance, many English speakers, even yours truly at times, use “real” as an adverb instead of the proper word, “really”. We say it’s “real cold” or “real cloudy”. We might describe someone as “real slutty” or “real violent”. On Fridays, we might get “real drunk”.

Language evolves, so there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with doing this. Personally,

I find “really” has a better rhythm to it. But the main reason I hate “real” as an adverb is simply because I can’t ignore the mistake. When I hear someone say

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it’s “real cold”, even if I restrain myself from correcting them, or butchering them with a hatchet, which is what I normally would do, I still go through the mental motion of the correction in my head, “it’s REALLY cold, you fucking retard” (chop chop choppity chop).

Worse still is when I say it, and then have to correct myself. Like when I tell a girl my cock is “real fat” and then her mother maces me “real good”. (I cannot explain why this keeps happening. But then, midwifery is the career I chose.)

It’s sad that it would actually be easier for me to get a lobotomy than to expect the world to speak proper.

I mean, properly. (DAMMIT!)

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1 Comment

  • You are wrong, my friend. When real is used to mean “very” it is an adverb. That’s the only time. It is not perfectly proper in writing to use real or really to mean very, but in our spoken language, this has been true for many years. I’m real sorry that you missed this.
    signed: 71 year old retired grammar teacher.

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