driving slow or slowly

Discussion in 'English Only' started by gckkk, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. gckkk Member

    Hi everyone,
    Driving slow is advisable or Driving slowly is advisable.
    Let me know which one of the above construction is correct grammatically.
    Thank you.
  2. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Please tell us which one you think is correct, gckkk.

    It's the custom in this forum.
  3. gckkk Member

    Yes my point of view is driving slow is advisable is correct as slowly is an adverb used to describe a verb but there is no verb to be described.
    Thank you
  4. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    Yes, there is a verb: driving​.
  5. gckkk Member

    But Julie the word driving according to this context, is not a verb but a verbal noun.
  6. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    That doesn't matter.
  7. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    We've been down this road before, gckkk and you could have found good advice by simply entering slow slowly in the search box at the top of the page.

    Slow vs Slowly
    slow x slowly

    Sorry, but no. Driving is a present participle here. The subject is "understood." In other words, "(that you should be) driving slowly is advisable.

    This is not the same as "slow driving is advisable."
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  8. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    If I were trying to learn English, I'd be wondering why it doesn't matter. (I'm not trying to learn English, but I'm still wondering why. :))
  9. word gumshoe Senior Member

    Are you sure "driving" is present participle? I think it's Gerund.
  10. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Yes, I am sure. :)

    I suggest you reread-the post as well as being specific.

    If it were a gerund, "driving slowly" would be an error ... but it is not.

    As a side note, "gerund" is not a proper noun. Don't capitalize it. It's also countable, so you have to say "a gerund."
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  11. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I agree with word gumshoe: I don't see "driving" as a present participle here.

    I tend not to use the term "gerund" these days, but if it is used, I think it's important to note that gerunds can be employed in ways which are more noun-like (let's call those "noun-y" gerunds) or more verb-like (let's call those "verby" gerunds).

    "Noun-y" gerunds (sometimes called verbal nouns) are modified by determiners or adjectives (All slow driving is bad driving), whereas "verby" gerunds are modified by adverbs (Driving slowly is always bad).

    Gckkk has a choice in his sentence: Slow driving is advisable ("noun-y") or Driving slowly is advisable ("verby").
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013
  12. Miss Julie

    Miss Julie Senior Member

    Chicago metro area
    You're describing driving, and for that you need an adverb (-ly word).

    I was just trying not to hand him the answer on a silver platter...sorry. :eek:
  13. gckkk Member

    Let me explain with an example what a present participle & gerund is.
    He is walking now. (the word walking here is a present participle)
    Walking is a good exercise. (the word walking here isn't present participle but a gerund or verbal noun).
  14. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    "Driving slowly" is still correct, but I cannot understand that if you're so wedded to your opinion you bothered to ask this group in the first place.

    I've taken the liberty of correcting your grammar. No need to thank me.
  15. lapdwicks Senior Member


    The red car is beautiful. - OK

    But, have you heard the under mentioned sentence with the same meaning?

    The car red is beautiful. :cross:

    Because an adjective (except for participle adjectives) doesn't come after the noun.

    In that way,

    Driving slow is incorrect. (Reason - A noun followed by an adjective.)

    Then what is the remaining structure.

    Driving slowly :tick:
  16. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Gckkk, I think you're being led astray by the traditional terminology.

    In the context of your question, the crucial difference is whether the -ING form is being used as a noun or a verb.

    If it's being used as a verb, then it's modified by an adverb:
    Driving slowly is advisable.
    Walking briskly is good exercise.

    If it's being used as a noun, then it's modified by an adjective (and the adjective goes before the noun):
    Slow driving is advisable.
    Brisk walking is good exercise.
  17. e2efour Senior Member

    England (aged 75)
    UK English
    Road signs sometimes have slow and sometimes have slowly. I don't know where the signs below come from. but I would guess that the first is from the US.
    Despite this, you are more likely to see slowly in a text.


  18. DW

    DW Banned

    Well, I'll add a thing or two.

    Both slowly and slow are adverbs; the former is one of those regular ("-ly") adverbs, while the latter - having the same form as its related adjective - is a flat adverb.

    So, as you see, (to) drive/driving slowly is grammatically correct, and so is (to) drive/driving slow, but if the slow/slowly was to go before driving (what is possible, as driving can be used as a noun) then you'd need an adjective, not an adverb so only slow would work.

    To put it in a nutshell:
    • (To) drive slowly (correct :tick:),
    • (To) drive slow (correct :tick:),
    • Driving slowly (correct :tick:),
    • Driving slow (correct :tick:),
    • Slow driving (correct :tick:),
    • Slowly driving (incorrect :cross:).
  19. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    The last two posts take us back to the second of the threads liked by sdg earlier, and away from the question of the classification of the word "driving" in the original sentence.

    But that's OK:)
  20. Edinburgher Senior Member

    German/English bilingual
    Your terms "noun-y" and "verb-y" sound delightfully quaint, but is it not the case that what you call a "noun-y gerund" is what is traditionally called a gerund, while what you call a "verb-y gerund" is what is traditionally called a present participle? Or when a participle gets used as a noun, we call it a gerund, but when it doesn't, we don't.

    I venture to suggest that better quaint terms might be "noun-y ing-word" for gerund, and "verb-y ing-word" for participle. :D
  21. gckkk Member

    Very sorry If you feel that I hurt your feelings.Right or wrong, I expressed my idea about the English language as I have learnt.I did not do it in malicious intent.My purpose is to keep company with members in this forum, share my knowledge and better my knowledge of English.Do hope you will extend your cooperation to the best of your knowledge for the benefit of those who wish to learn the English language.Dedication of specially senior members here is highly admirable.
    Wish you all good luck.
  22. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    "Driving" can both be a gerund - a part of the verb - a verbal noun. ("Peter loves driving cars, but Peter hates driving cars slowly.")

    "Driving" can also be a noun in its own right - no longer part of the verb - a deverbal noun. ("So Peter is not known for his safe driving.")

    "Driving" can also be a modifier - a part of the verb - a participle - a verbal modifier. ("Peter, driving his mother's 1984 sedan, pulled onto the freeway and floored it."

    The word "driving" in "How's my driving?" refers to a concept that is not entirely governed by the meaning of the verb "to drive." You can really feel the difference in the activeness of the word in sentences like "Peter loves driving quickly" - "drawing" conjures up the action of driving, it's dynamic, it's still part of the verb and thus takes an adverb - and "Safe driving is vitally important" - "driving" refers instead to a set of practices, a group of skills, not so much the action of driving. That, I think, is what Loob means by verb-y and noun-y - the difference between verbal and deverbal nouns.
  23. Wordsmyth

    Wordsmyth Senior Member

    Location: Mostly SW France
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Whilst your arguments may be technically correct, DW-etc, I wouldn't recommend them as advice to a non-native speaker (such as the OP). If you look at the history and current status of flat adverbs, you'll find that they were very common in the 16th-18th centuries, but that their usage has since declined enormously in favour of the -ly form (returning in fact to Middle English usage). A few remnants of flat adverb usage remain in present-day English, perhaps somewhat more in AmE than in BrE: mighty fine, real good, think different, I sure am, drive slow, ...

    That said, there are plenty of Americans and probably the majority of Brits and other English-speakers who were brought up with the principle that really/differently/slowly are adverbs, whereas real/different/slow are adjectives — and that using the latter group as adverbs is poor English.

    So my advice to gckkk is to use "driving slowly": that's correct for everyone. If you use "driving slow", there are many English speakers who will consider that your English is poor.

    The flat adverbs that are universally accepted are often those where the -ly form has a different meaning (late/lately, hard/hardly, right/rightly, etc).

    Finally, I can't agree that "slowly driving" is systematically incorrect. Where "driving" is used as a participle, "slowly driving down the street" is a perfectly good alternative to "driving slowly down the street".


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