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re: Grammar in "Left in the Dark"

Posted by:
Vin 11:28 am MST 01/26/07
In reply to: re: Grammar in "Left in the Dark" - Smeghead 10:09 am MST 01/26/07

Needing her "bad" wouldn't necessarily mean that he needed her to be a bad person. It could refer to THE DEGREE OF NEEDING, as opposed to the ACTUAL ACT OF NEEDING, which is what the adverb "badly" modifies.

Example:

Hey, dude, how do you need her?

I need her bad. ("Bad," in this case, having the colloquial/contextual meaning of "a lot.")

"I need her badly," while gramatically correct, as you point out, technically means, "I'm not good at needing her."
Its pretty safe to assume that this is not what Jim's speaker means in LitD.

Another example:

"The man dying in the desert needed water bad." (He didn't need bad water. And there surely is nothing wrong with his ability to need the water; he's needing it just fine. Its the degree to which he needs the water that is being described.)

And this chestnut from Jim's own catalog probably best illustrates the difference:

"Tonight I really got it bad."

Is Jim saying that the way in which she obtained it is sub-par? No, because that would be "Tonight I really got it badly." He's describing the degree to which she got it: "bad."


Not that I honestly give a shit. Language is a mutable body of work, most of us butcher the rules routinely, accidentally or otherwise, and as long as we effectively communicate, it doesn't really matter. If we butcher the rules long enough, the butchering becomes the rule, so there.

Still, I've always had a soft spot for debating minutiae.



> Badly is correct. It describes how he needs her. If he
> needed her bad then bad being an adjective would say that
> he needs her to be a bad person... or a naughty person.
> For an adverb you ask does it desc ribe the verb. How did
> he need her? He needed her badly.
>
> > Listening to LitD this morning, and this line struck me:
> >
> > I needed you oh so badly tonight
> >
> > "Badly" being an adverb, doesn't this mean that the
> > speaker is doing a poor job of "needing."
> >
> > Shouldn't this properly be "needed you oh so bad" ?


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Previous: re: Grammar in "Left in the Dark" - Dr_Rock 03:52 pm MST 01/26/07
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