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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Adjective or Adverb?    

Adjective or Adverb?


Adjective or Adverb?
 In the following sentences:
Adjective or Adverb? Which is correct and WHY?
He got a new phone for free/freely.
They were swinging so high/highly that she got scared. 
The gardener had to dug deep/deeply before planting the lemon tree. 

25 May 2021      

United States

He got the phone FOR free. (After a preposition use the adjective).
They were swinging SO high. (After an adverb we use an adjective).
He had to dig deep. (Deep is an adjective describing the area. Deeply would sound strange because it would describe how he was digging. Example: He dug rapidly describes how he dug, but not the area).

https://wordtype.org/of/deep Scroll down to see the first definition of deep used as an adjective meaning �having its bottom far down�. This is how I thought about the example. But the source word type.org is not authoritative. It contradicts more trustworthy sources below. 

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/deep Dictionary.com which is a reliable source, lists deep as an adverb like Aisha said, with the example
 to or at a considerable or specified depth: 
The boat rode deep in the water�

This worksheet gives examples like Aisha�s explanation https://www.k12reader.com/adverbs/Adverb4_Can_Tell_Where , so after my research I have learned that adverbs can tell where, as Aisha pointed out. Thanks Aisha!

25 May 2021     


Thank you so much. 

25 May 2021     


An adverb modifies a verb, this means if you use "freely, highly or deeply" there should be a verb after, such as "highly recommended, freely bought or deeply carved"... Deep is an adjective and in your sentence, it should be an adverb as modifies the verb "dig", but in this case the adjective deep works as an adverb... About "for free" is just as simple as to learn it this way, as this expression works as an adverb...
About high it also works as an adverb here, and highly would be used only as I wrote before or in sentences like "highly toxic..." where highly is an intensifier of an adjective... 
Sometimes it�s better to learn many sentences with this type of structures and try to use them on your daily basis, rather than wondering why or why not, because English grammar is quite complicated, as the same word can work as many things depending on the context...  Once your ear is used to the expressions you immediately know well if that is correct or not...

25 May 2021     


Aisha - I totally agree with you and the truth is I was quite sure about the correct choices, but could not remember how to explain this to my student who is very "rule" oriented. She must know why!!!
Anyways - a good thing so I refreshed my knowledge with your help

25 May 2021     

United States

Strictly speaking, the first sentence should be "He got the new phone free", because the preposition "for" should be followed by a noun or pronoun, not an adjective. However, "for free" has become so common in recent years (and I think is used more than "free") that it is now accepted (except by curmudgeons like me).

26 May 2021     


Not only did I improve my knowledge about getting things free........ I learned what a  curmudgeon is!!! (googled it of course!)
Thanks a lot

27 May 2021