keep thoroughly and <neatly /neat>

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goddest

Member
Vietnamese
Question: The doctor's records must be kept thorough and neatly, so as to insure good book-keeping.
Obviously, the word "thorough" is incorrect and it must be "thoroughly". But my teacher said the wrong was "neatly" and it must be "neat" because "keep" was a special word ?!
Can someone help me to figure out this problem ?.
Thanks in advance.
 
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  • Thelb4

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The doctor's records must be kept thoroughly and neatly, so as to insure good book-keeping.
    The doctor's records must be kept thorough and neat, so as to insure good book-keeping.

    Either is correct. There is a very subtle difference in meaning: in the second sentence, the records themselves must be thorough and neat; in the first sentence, the manner of keeping the records must be thorough and neat.
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I agree with Thelb4.

    One can keep thorough records. One can keep neat records. Hence, records can be kept thorough and neat.

    I would find the first sentence, with thoroughly and neatly, a bit odd, to be honest! It doesn't seem incorrect, but it does seem strange.

    Think, for example, of somebody shouting instructions to a team fighting a tug-of-war.

    "Keep the rope tight!" = Pull the rope hard so that it remains tight
    "Keep the rope tightly!" = :confused:
     

    goddest

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Thank you, two.
    But if we have to choose the best answer. The sentence "The doctor's records must be kept thorough and neat, so as to insure good book-keeping" is more appropriate?
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    It is what I would chose. Others may prefer the version with "thoroughly" and "neatly". To me, the two sentences have a slightly different meaning, the first talking about the notes being neat and thorough, the second about the person making the notes doing so thorougly and neatly. The first version is... neater to me. :D
     

    goddest

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Thank you, cycloneviv, actually, I think both version are correct, but the version " thorough and neat " is more grammatical, so that is the best answer.
    Thank everyone for helping me understand more about that problem.
     
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    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yeah, cycloneviv, actually, I think both version are correct, but the version " thorough and neat " is more grammatical, so that is the best answer.
    Thank everyone for helping me understand more about that problem.
    1. No, neither is more grammatical. They have subtly different meanings, but for all practical purposes the choice is solely a matter of personal preference.

    2. There is no such word as "yeah" in normal written English: see Rule 11.
     

    goddest

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Thank you Andygc for reminding me the rule, I will remember this.
    I think I find myself an answer.
    Thank everyone for helps.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    There isn't a question of which is better (that, when there are two things, is the word to use, not "best"). Both are correct. In AE as in BE, it's exactly as Thelb says (post #2): It depends whether you're talking about (a) the manner of keeping (entering and maintaining) the records (the actions of the person responsible), which calls for the adverbs; or (b) the condition in which the records must be maintained (a description of the records), where you'd use the adjectives.

    Incidentally, bookkeeping is one word (no hyphen) in AE.
     
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