take it serious/take it seriously

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  • Eigenfunction

    Senior Member
    England - English
    'take it seriously' is the correct phrase in BE because seriously is an adverb, while serious is an adjective (and in this case the word describes the actions of the verb take, so we need an adverb).

    However, I think in AE, they may consider serious to be an adverb. I know there are several American phrases in which they use British adjectives as though they were adverbs. I don't know if this is considered correct in AE or whether the BE version would be considered incorrect in AE.
     

    gasman

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    I know of "be serious", but I have never heard or read "take it serious" on either side of the Atlantic.
     

    macimp

    New Member
    Danish
    Hello

    I'm a newbie here, but I've been teaching English for almost twenty years.
    A quick search in Google certainly confirms what Gasman and Eigenfunction say about the usage for these phrases (take it serious(-ly)).

    Google shows a grand majority of about 10 to 1 on both .com sites and .uk sites using "take it seriously". But I think the speakers and writers who use "take it serious" could be justified by the argument that "take" in the sentence places enough of an equal-sign between "it" and "serious" to make "serious" an adjective instead of an adverb.

    What do you think?
     
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    BabelJess

    New Member
    English-UK
    I completely disagree. It is surely never correct to say 'take it serious.' I certainly would say 'take it seriously.' Given that take is the verb here and it the direct object, it follows that an adjective cannot logically follow, whilst an adverb can.

    Jess
     

    macimp

    New Member
    Danish
    OK. But couldn't "serious" be considered an objective complement, as is "governor" in "They elected him governor"?
     

    manon33

    Senior Member
    English - England (Yorkshire)
    OK. But couldn't "serious" be considered an objective complement, as is "governor" in "They elected him governor"?

    Do you mean as in 'They considered her frivolous'?

    I agree it can be used as an adjective in that construction (e..g They found him too serious [for the role of comedian?]), but not in the one we are being offered : it must be an adverb (seriously).
     

    Vill

    New Member
    Dutch - Hollandic
    Please excuse my bump here, but I think that "seriously" would be the 'correct' form, except in perhaps some dialects. Usage as in "They elected him governor" is predicative; you can also add "as" in front of the noun used predicatively.

    "To take", however, is rarely used in combination with an adjective (or at least as far as my knowledge goes, which I admit is not anywhere near expert knowledge); for example, "she took the bad news quite well" is used instead of "she took the bad news quite good".

    (As I said before, I'm certainly not an expert and I even forgot the term predicative until I read this topic when searching what form to use myself.)
     

    Oliver F. Lehmann PMP

    New Member
    German
    So, this is bad English?

    Take it easy
    Take it easy
    Don't let the sound of your own wheels
    Drive you crazy
    (Eagles)

    If "Take it easy" isn't bad, "Take it serious" should be OK too, should it not?

    Regards, Oliver
     
    So, this is bad English?

    Take it easy
    Take it easy
    Don't let the sound of your own wheels
    Drive you crazy
    (Eagles)

    If "Take it easy" isn't bad, "Take it serious" should be OK too, should it not?

    Regards, Oliver
    Although it is a very common phrase, "Take it easy" is technically wrong, because it uses an adjective as an adverb. It is idiomatic and its almost universal usage puts it beyond correction, but that doesn't make it a model for using other adjectives as adverbs.
     

    pennyban

    New Member
    English
    When I say take something serious, I am using an elliptical clause. I mean I take something to be serious. If I meant the adverb seriously, then no matter where I put it, it makes sense. But when I say that, I am not seriously taking something in which case I would be leaving the room. I take something to be serious but I don't say it that way. I could be wrong though, maybe I don't know what I am saying.
     

    swndlr27

    New Member
    English
    Rules aside.. it just plain sounds wrong. Hearing it sounds like nails on a chalk boards to me. My rule is, if you makes you sound ignorant/uneducated, don't use it.
     

    Ilmen

    Senior Member
    Français, France.
    Grammatically, this use of an adjective with a verb reminds me of predicative adjectives, as in "to paint the door red" (and not the red door).
    Similarly, I would expect a sentence "make it simple" to be correct, but this could not work with "to take", because its direct object is not modified by it.
    At the contrary, the part "simple" in "make it simple" does not describe the verb itself, but the resulting state of its object (otherwise the sentence would have been "to make it simply").

    Am I right on this point? :)
     
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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    However, I think in AE, they may consider serious to be an adverb.
    No, no! As apparently the lone voice thus far for the AE contingent, let me say that we would absolutely not consider "take it serious" to be correct! :eek:

    We take our grammar seriously!
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    In "Get serious!", the adjective "serious" describes the person who becomes serious as requested.
    In "I find him too serious", "serious" describes the person as I find him, it doesn't describe the action of finding.

    I also agree with Ilmen about "paint the door red" (you don't paint it redly) and "make it simple.

    "Take it seriously" describes the manner in which we are to take "it"; it doesn't describe the state of "it" after the process of taking.
     

    owisped

    New Member
    English
    Saying "take it serious" is quite common in the UK but it is bad English. It is even used in TV and film as short-hand to show that characters are not well educated, together with 'talk proper" (as opposed to "talk properly"). You'll hear it a lot in London and the South East England, but not from those who are considered to be well-spoken.
     

    benjicarli

    New Member
    French
    Hi,

    Sorry I'm not english but I'm learning english to go to business schools.
    I would like to know something about I've just learnt (which brought me here).

    The sentence is : "A top CDC disease expert said this week that killer virus "Swine Flu" was the world's number one health threat and should ... "
    I thought it was "be taken seriously" but in the book it is "be taken serious"...

    I've read what you wrote in the subject but I still don't understand why is it "be taken serious".

    Thanks to you and sorry for my english !
     

    Einstein

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    I'd say "should be taken seriously". We don't know whether the expert is a native English speaker, or whether he spoke in another language, subsequently translated, but whoever wrote the English version doesn't know the language very well.
     

    Millze

    New Member
    English USA
    Would anyone consider this a proper use of serious?

    Please know that I take serious the trust you have placed in me.
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    I was thinking about this before and I'm again thinking about it. I'll share my opinion (which is also the opinion of 2 university linguistics professors at a faculty of philology). They actually say that there is still no consesus on this, but...
    Context: someone has flu and they say to a friend "I have it serious." The thing is that this it refers to the flu (I have the flu and it's serious). So "it" is an object and serious is an object complement which actually functions as a modifier to the object. To rephrase: "I have a serious case of flu". So "I have it (the case of flu and it's) serious."
    If you said "I have it seriously" the interpretation is completely different.
    The same could stand for "Take it easy" easy modifies it as the object complement, and it refers to the situation. Because when you rephrase everything it means: Consider the situation easy. Take has a different meaning in this idiom, just like have in the previous example. The meaning could actually be unique to the idiom itself or to that phrase "have it serious/correct/bad".
    "Take it easily" could also have a different interpretation: do what you're doing slowly.
    On the other hand, "I want you bad" sounds like I want to go deaf to me.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    In standard English you need to use the adverb: "take it seriously". It isn't possible to derive a rule for using "take it serious", by analogy with other common expressions such as "take it easy".


    someone has flu and they say to a friend "I have it serious."
    No, I'm afraid a native speaker wouldn't actually say that. "I got it bad" would be more likely.
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    I'm just amazed at the number of times I've heard the AE speakers on tv say 'take it serious' and other variations where I was taught to use an adverb.
    They'll always say: 'don't take it personal'.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm just amazed at the number of times I've heard the AE speakers on tv say 'take it serious' and other variations where I was taught to use an adverb.
    They'll always say: 'don't take it personal'.

    I thought you were asking about standard English. People who speak non-standard dialects or slang say all kinds of things, and liguists study such speech. Personally, I have never come across "I have it serious", but then I hardly ever watch American TV.
     

    NevenaT

    Senior Member
    Serbian/Croatian
    I don't know if that's standard in American, I know it isn't in BE. By the way, I heard that example somewhere, someone had been ill and they said "I had it serious" or maybe it was severe, but that construction is perfectly alright and standard, just like "I had it bad".
    On the other hand, I don't know if "take it personal" is standard in AmE, but it's ever so common.
     

    Marguih21

    New Member
    Spanish - Colombia, Latin America
    In "Get serious!", the adjective "serious" describes the person who becomes serious as requested.
    In "I find him too serious", "serious" describes the person as I find him, it doesn't describe the action of finding.

    I also agree with Ilmen about "paint the door red" (you don't paint it redly) and "make it simple.

    "Take it seriously" describes the manner in which we are to take "it"; it doesn't describe the state of "it" after the process of taking.
    Do you mean as in 'They considered her frivolous'?

    I agree it can be used as an adjective in that construction (e..g They found him too serious [for the role of comedian?]), but not in the one we are being offered : it must be an adverb (seriously).

    Although it is a very common phrase, "Take it easy" is technically wrong, because it uses an adjective as an adverb. It is idiomatic and its almost universal usage puts it beyond correction, but that doesn't make it a model for using other adjectives as adverbs.

    In standard English you need to use the adverb: "take it seriously". It isn't possible to derive a rule for using "take it serious", by analogy with other common expressions such as "take it easy".


    No, I'm afraid a native speaker wouldn't actually say that. "I got it bad" would be more likely.

    Hello Everyone,

    I was searching for grammatical rules related to this verb and adverb combined in the same sentence in particular and it brought me here. I think I pretty much understand the basis. However I still want to add a form that I found and I'd like to clarify it in this example if it's possible, since I need to choose wich one would be the right one for using in this specific case: " I didn’t know you were going to take everything so _______." (serious, seriously)

    My question is because in this case I could say that if I'm describing the word everything I could use the Adjective serious instead of the Adverb (seriously). Could it be right? I'd would love to get a consesus on this.

    By the way, I selected these quotes since in this thread I saw you were like the most confident ones in your interventions. I truly sorry about my mistakes regarding the language, I apologize in advance but I'm basically a self-taught in English who is aiming to improve and I sincerely apprecciate your help.

    <Edited by moderator (Florentia52) to eliminate use of all capital letters>
     
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    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    "I didn’t know you were going to take everything so serious" sounds just as incorrect to me as "Take it serious."
     

    Wicked-1

    New Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    It is "take HER serious" (as in, take serious what she says) or "TAKE her seriously" (as in, give her a real good time).

    When you "take HER serious", serious says something about how YOU take HER and "her" is a noun, therefore you need to use an adjective, in this case "serious".

    When you "TAKE her seriously", seriously says something about how YOU TAKE her and "take" is a verb, therefore you need to use an adverb, in this case "seriously".

    An easy way to remember:
    You can use both in one sentence, when you're seriously (adverb) not taking her serious (adjective).

    PS: Saying that you never hear people say "take serious", so therefore it can't be right, says more about your environment than about if it's right or not.
     

    USMeg

    Senior Member
    English/USA
    It is "take HER serious" (as in, take serious what she says) or "TAKE her seriously" (as in, give her a real good time).
    When you "take HER serious", serious says something about how YOU take HER and "her" is a noun, therefore you need to use an adjective, in this case "serious".
    When you "TAKE her seriously", seriously says something about how YOU TAKE her and "take" is a verb, therefore you need to use an adverb, in this case "seriously".
    An easy way to remember:
    You can use both in one sentence, when you're seriously (adverb) not taking her serious (adjective).
    PS: Saying that you never hear people say "take serious", so therefore it can't be right, says more about your environment than about if it's right or not.

    To "take someone serious" is grammatically incorrect.
    From merriam-webster.com's entry for take:
    (3): to accept or regard with the mind in a specified way
    - took the news hard
    - you take yourself too seriously


    You specify the way with an ADVERB.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It is "take HER serious" (as in, take serious what she says) or "TAKE her seriously" (as in, give her a real good time).

    When you "take HER serious", serious says something about how YOU take HER and "her" is a noun, therefore you need to use an adjective, in this case "serious".

    When you "TAKE her seriously", seriously says something about how YOU TAKE her and "take" is a verb, therefore you need to use an adverb, in this case "seriously".

    An easy way to remember:
    You can use both in one sentence, when you're seriously (adverb) not taking her serious (adjective).

    PS: Saying that you never hear people say "take serious", so therefore it can't be right, says more about your environment than about if it's right or not.
    Welcome!
    I personally think you are wrong/incorrect. You will find a lot of disagreement from other native speakers (on the acceptability of "Take it serious") who tend to spend much more time with other native speakers do than the vast majority of non-native speakers. Their environment is far more representative of what native speakers consider correct than those whose native language is not English and who spend much less time in a "native-speaking" environment.
     

    Wicked-1

    New Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    Maybe an example, for people having a hard time swallowing it...

    If you take a JD straight, instead of on the rocks, then "straight" says something about the drink, not about how you TAKE it, but how (in which way) you take IT.

    You would not say "straightly" in this case, because that would mean you take a JD straight away or directly.
     

    USMeg

    Senior Member
    English/USA
    Please do not say "straightly" in any case. In AE at least, there is no such word. Straight is used as adjective and adverb.
    The teacher took Alfred straight to the office.
    I'll take a Jack Daniels right now! :)

    "Straightaway" (it's one word) would probably most closely correspond to the directly or right away sense, but it's not really in common use in the US these days.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Please do not say "straightly" in any case. In AE at least, there is no such word. Straight is used as adjective and adverb.
    The teacher took Alfred straight to the office.
    I'll take a Jack Daniels right now! :)

    "Straightaway" (it's one word) would probably most closely correspond to the directly or right away sense, but it's not really in common use in the US these days.
    Indeed. This is reflected in the WRF dictionaries that give extensive definitions for straight as an adverb. There are other words where the adjective and the adverb have the same spelling (both quick and quickly are used as adverbs, for example) - often found to be confusing by non-native speskers.
    straight - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
    There are no adverb definitions for serious serious - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
     

    Wicked-1

    New Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    If "I am taking it seriously" would be correct, would it then not also have to be "I am being seriously"? Imo in both cases it says something about the noun, not about the verb.

    Is there someone who can explain the difference, why "I am taking it" should be handled differently than "I am being"?
     

    USMeg

    Senior Member
    English/USA
    The "to be" verbs are also known as "linking verbs", and you can think of them as an equal sign.
    The "object" of a linking verb (there are lots of them: be, seem, feel, look...) describes the subject of the sentence.
    I am being serious.
    I feel sick.
    Action verbs are described by adverbs. Adverbs describe the verb, not the subject.
    I type poorly.
    I proofread carefully.
     

    Wicked-1

    New Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    The "to be" verbs are also known as "linking verbs", and you can think of them as an equal sign.
    The "object" of a linking verb (there are lots of them: be, seem, feel, look...) describes the subject of the sentence.
    I am being serious.
    I feel sick.
    Action verbs are described by adverbs. Adverbs describe the verb, not the subject.
    I type poorly.
    I proofread carefully.

    Thank you, USMeg!

    Does that mean it is "I'm not taking her as being serious" or "I'm not taking her as being seriously"?
     

    Wicked-1

    New Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    To "take someone serious" is grammatically incorrect.
    From merriam-webster.com's entry for take:
    (3): to accept or regard with the mind in a specified way
    - took the news hard
    - you take yourself too seriously


    You specify the way with an ADVERB.

    And what about the following:

    Don't take it serious/seriously?
    Don't take it personal/personally?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    You can say “I take my coffee black” or “I take my pills whole.” Here, “take” means “consume” and the adjective describes the object.

    When “take” means “treat” or “consider,” this construction is not valid.

    I take her seriously. :tick:
    I take her to be serious. :tick:
    I take her serious. :cross:
    I consider/deem/find her serious. :tick:
     

    Twisty

    Senior Member
    Polish
    "Straightaway" (it's one word) would probably most closely correspond to the directly or right away sense, but it's not really in common use in the US these days.

    How is different from straight away (two words) then?

    EDIT:
    Oh, never mind, now I see "straightaway" is also an accepted spelling. I never knew.
     

    Wicked-1

    New Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands
    You can say “I take my coffee black” or “I take my pills whole.” Here, “take” means “consume” and the adjective describes the object.

    When “take” means “treat” or “consider,” this construction is not valid.

    I take her seriously. :tick:
    I take her to be serious. :tick:
    I take her serious. :cross:
    I consider/deem/find her serious. :tick:

    That makes sence, thank you!

    Then it should also be "don't take it so personally", is that correct? Or is it "don't take it so personal"?

    I hope you you can clear this up too?!
     

    Wicked-1

    New Member
    Dutch - The Netherlands

    Thank you again. I could only find good arguments for the opposite opinion, therefore I needed someone to really make it clear. Not many people know the rules, they just repeat an opinion without substantiating it.

    Where I got it wrong is thinking that "taking seious" or "taking seriously" was saying something about the other person, but it's saying something about how I view them. The other person can be totally serious, but I don't view/take them that way.
     
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