slower vs. more slowly

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by Student-of-English, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. Student-of-English Senior Member

    Malaga
    España-Español
    Hello

    Which is the right one, Could you speak slower or could you speak more slowly?

    Thank you in advance
     
  2. carlito0139 New Member

    England, English
    Both are perfectly acceptable. This is one of the few situations when both sound fine. I would probably prefer "more slowly"
     
  3. Bookworm123 Senior Member

    USA English
    The correct one is "Could you speak more slowly?" because speak is a verb and you are modifying the action of the verb. Therefore, an adverb, not an adjective, is needed.
     
  4. chicanul Senior Member

    SoCal
    english/spanish
    I agree with Bookworm123. This is a case of an adverb being required.
     
  5. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    I agree with carlito. Either adverb phrase works for me in this context, "slower" or "more slowly". "Slower" is the comparative of "slow", whether used as an adjective or as an adverb.

    For me, it is natural to say "Time passes slowly" (not "slow") = "Time tarries in passing" but "My watch is running slow" (not "slowly") = "My watch is losing time". But there is no big difference in meaning between "talk slow" and "talk slowly" or between "speak slower" and "speak more slowly".
     
  6. chicanul Senior Member

    SoCal
    english/spanish
    Though they may colloquially sounds just as well, in this specific example, "speak more slowly" is the more grammatically correct option.

    For example:

    WRONG: The term is more wider used in formal writing.
    RIGHT: The term is more widely used in formal writing.
     
  7. Doval

    Doval Senior Member

    New York City, USA
    USA English/British Caribbean
    It is quite common, especially in spoken language, to say "speak slower". In modern usage, both slow and slowly are recognized as adverbs. So both can be used. However, I would strongly recommend sticking to "slowly" in this case. "Slower sounds quite informal to me, and I don't like it except in more colloquial speech.
     
  8. Student-of-English Senior Member

    Malaga
    España-Español
    Thank you very much ... all of you. Doval, your link is completely clarifying. Thanks.
     
  9. Doval

    Doval Senior Member

    New York City, USA
    USA English/British Caribbean
    You're welcome. My philosophy is that there's always someone who can explain things better than I can.;)
     
  10. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Sorry to nitpick, but with "sound", I believe you want an adjective, not an adverb.

    In the case of "Could you please speak more slowly?", I was thinking of a real-life situation in which a person having difficultly understanding English may need to ask for processing time. I imagine that it would be easier for the person new to English to say "slower" than to say "more slowly", and I don't believe that would offend. In such a situation, eloquence has to take a back seat to basic communication. The choice depends on the situation.
     
  11. chicanul Senior Member

    SoCal
    english/spanish
    I would agree with Doval that, for colloquial purposes, "slower" is okay. I base my observation of "slowly" on the Chicago Manual of Style. It says that "slowly" should be the preferred adverb, but that "slower" is okay for, what it calls, "pithy" statements, such as "Go slower" ....
     
  12. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    My printed sources (dictionaries, language guides, college textbook, and a book of advice on usage) all agree that "(more) slowly" is correct everywhere, and that "slow(er)" is correct (it has been for over four centuries) after verbs that denote movement or action.

    One of my dictionaries, Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, gives a couple of interesting quotes:

    "... till the speed of his rage goes slower" - Shakespeare
    "beans ... are best cooked long and slow" - Louise Prothro

    As for my tuppence worth, neither of these quotes sounds strange to me, but I could explain both as unusual circumstances. In the Shakespeare quote, "slower" seems more like an adjective that an adverb, and in the Prothro quote, the motivation for "slow" seems to be that "longly" is not a word and "slowly" would sound odd after "long".

    For some reason, "slow" sounds more natural after "talk" than after "speak", and "slower" sounds natural in some situations where "slow" does not.

    I would normally prefer "slowly", but in a situation where understanding is difficult because of the language barrier, I would advise using "slower" unless the speaker has time to say "more slowly" and finds "more slowly" no harder to pronounce than "slower".
     
  13. Lecword Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hi all

    So would these two sentences be correct? Is there any difference between them?

    Mary types the slowest.
    Mary types the most slowly.

    Many thanks for your help.
     

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