Correct or Correctly? Difference Explained (With Examples)

“Correct” and “correctly” are both common in English, but they are used in different ways. This article will explain how the two words differ to help you understand how you can make the most of them in your writing.

What Is The Difference Between “Correct” and “Correctly”?

You should use “correct” as an adjective, like in “that is correct.” “That” is a noun, and adjectives are always used to modify nouns like this. “Correctly” is an adverb that is reserved for modifying verb forms. “You are doing it correctly” is a good way of showing this modification.

correct or correctly

In standard English, it’s important to uphold adverbial usage in your writing. Therefore, modifying verbs with “correctly” is the only correct thing to do (i.e. “I did it correctly”).

However, many native speakers think that “correctly” is a strange word to use. While other adverb forms hold strong, “correctly” is losing popularity because “correct” just feels more natural.

In spoken English, where standard rules are relaxed, you might hear people using “correct” as an adverb instead of using the “-ly” ending. You would hear “I did it correct” in place of “correctly.”

How to Use “Correct” In A Sentence

  1. You are correct! Well done for thinking on your feet and coming to this answer without issue.
  2. It was not correct. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to take the test again after you’ve studied a bit more.
  3. That’s correct! What a great answer! I’ll have to get you back to find out if you can figure the rest out.
  4. Was he correct? I’m sure there was more to it than that, but he seemed to get rewarded for it.
  5. It’s correct! I knew it would be. I always know the answer to things like that.

“Correct” is an adjective in standard English, and it should only be used to modify nouns and objects. You’ll often find it before or after nouns (“correct answer”) or pronouns (“he is correct”).

How to Use “Correctly” In A Sentence

  1. I spoke correctly for the first time in my life, and everybody thought I was a weirdo for doing that.
  2. I’m not doing it correctly, but I have no idea what else you want me to put.
  3. Can you do it correctly for once in your life? I’m tired of picking up the pieces after you!
  4. Please, answer it correctly this time. It’s important that you know how to answer questions like this.
  5. Why are you not helping him correctly? Are you trying to sabotage him and get his grades lowered?

“Correctly” is an adverbial form. While it’s not a popular choice, it’s still the choice you should stick to when following standard English rules. It works when used with a verb (“correctly guessed”).

Is It “I Did It Correct” or “I Did It Correctly”?

“I did it correctly” is the only correct form, according to standard English rules. “Did” is the verb being modified here, so we need the adverb (which is “correctly”) to modify it. “I did it correct” is incorrect, but you might hear it used informally.

  • Correct: I did it correctly for once!
  • Incorrect: I did it correct. Are you proud of me?

Is It “You Got It Correct” or “You Got It Correctly”?

“You got it correct” is the only correct form here. We use the noun “it” as the main object, so “correct” must be used to modify it because it’s an adjective. “Correctly” is an adverb, but we are not modifying the verb “got” here, so it doesn’t make sense to use it.

  • Correct: You got it correct! Well done to you!
  • Incorrect: You got it correctly. I knew I could count on you.

As a side note, even “correct” isn’t particularly natural here. Most native speakers would say “you got it right” instead of “correct” because it’s much less jarring.

What Word Type is “Correctly”?

“Correctly” is an adverb. We can use it to modify verbs in a sentence. The “-ly” extension to the adjective is all you need when you want to show that an action is being modified rather than a noun or object. It’s a good way of explaining how something might have happened.

Is It Right To Say “Correctly”?

Some adverbs can become their own sentence. You might be able to write them as one word, place a period after them, and leave them as a suitable response to someone. However, “correctly” is not a common word, and it is not right to use it as a single-word sentence.

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