View Full Version : Bad vs. Badly, Part II

11-18-2006, 04:43 PM
I went to an earlier thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42529&highlight=badly) that dealt with this matter, but didn't find my answer.

Here's the sentence in question: It depends on how bad you want it.

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Personally, I think using badly in this sentence sounds better. However, since badly and how are both adverbs, I'm unsure whether they can be placed next to each other.

Sandi LeFaucheur
11-18-2006, 09:44 PM
I'd say badly.

11-19-2006, 01:26 AM
Thanks for your input.

Sean D. Schaffer
11-19-2006, 01:29 AM
I'd also say badly; it sounds more natural to me than just bad.

Silver King
11-19-2006, 01:41 AM
If the sentence isn't used as dialogue, you can drop the "on."

Have you considered using "much?"

Also, keep in mind that "depends" is the product name for a brand of adult diapers.;)

11-19-2006, 01:43 AM
Badly is better. Bad is used sometimes as an adverb colloquially. Interesting enough, fast and slow can be used as adverbs. (You'd think it would always have to be quickly and slowly.)

11-19-2006, 01:49 AM
Silver King, I did consider using much, but knew if I didn't get the scoop on bad/badly now, I'd be lying awake wondering about it at 3a.m. ;)

(Oh, dear. Did I correctly use the word lying in that sentence? *sigh* It never fails...)

Well, anyhoo, it looks like the consensus is in and badly it is.

11-19-2006, 02:01 AM
Rethinking this one. I don't think the consensus is in. Bad may be correct. I was talking it over with a co-worker here at the newspaper I work for.

Consider: Badly is an adverb. The sentence in question is: "It depends on how bad (badly) you want it."

If it was "badly," it would mean you were doing a poor job of wanting. Since "want" refers to an emotion, i think "bad" actually may be the best answer. (In the same way that "I feel bad" refers to emotion.) Thoughts?

11-19-2006, 02:29 AM
Veronie, that explanation makes sense to me. Thanks. I guess I better not jump the gun next time. ;)

11-19-2006, 02:47 AM
Well, I did too. See my earlier post here. :)

11-19-2006, 07:30 AM
I know i'm flip-flopping here, but after further tought, and talking with some other folks, I'm ready to settle on "badly." :)

The definition of "badly" in the Webster's New World Collegiate Dictionary includes this example: to want something badly.

"Badly" is modifying "want" in the sentence, but I was mistakenly using "badly" as a negative, when in this sense it really means something akin to "a strong desire." So, you are wanting with a strong desire something. I hope this is making sense; I feel like I'm babbling.

11-19-2006, 06:41 PM
Veronie, that makes sense, too. Your explanation is lovely.

(Now, excuse me while lie down for a bit; for some odd reason, my heading is spinning. Why does grammar have to be such a pain? ;))