Knowing how adverbs modify verbs in sentences is important to a full understanding of English rules. That’s why we thought it smart to teach you the difference between drive safe or drive safely, so you can see which one makes more sense.
Is It Drive Safe Or Drive Safely?
The correct version is “drive safely” if you’re following all the grammar rules. “Safely” is an adverb that modifies the verb “drive” in the phrase. However, “drive safe” is informally accepted and used casually, as “safe” is a flat adverb where the “-ly” is dropped.
Is It Always Correct To Say “Drive Safely”?
We briefly mentioned it above, but we need to take it a little further. “Drive safely” isn’t always the correct choice. It’s the most formally recognizable option, sure, but that doesn’t always make it right.
The two sayings are interchangeable with each other. “Safe” is a flat adverb, meaning the “-ly” is dropped, but the idea of modifying the verb “to drive” still applies. That means both “drive safe” and “drive safely” follow the “verb adverb” format and are correct.
Typically, you’ll see “drive safely” used in more formal situations when you aren’t as familiar with the person you’re talking to. This could apply if you’ve just had a meeting with someone and want them to get home safely, but you don’t know them well. You might say “drive safe” in a more casual manner. This means that you are talking to a close friend or family member just before they leave to return home.
Why Do People Sometimes Say “Drive Safe”?
As we’ve stated, there’s nothing wrong with saying “drive safe.” Most people use it, and it’s still grammatically correct because of how “safe” acts as an adverb in itself.
However, most people use it because it’s widely accepted as a more informal saying. There’s no real explanation as to what makes “drive safe” more casual than “drive safely,” but friends will constantly say it to each other when they’re about to go home.
14 Examples Of How To Use “Drive Safe” Or “Drive Safely
Now let’s look at some examples of how to use each one. Since they’re both correct, we’ll start by showing you how you might use “drive safe” in a sentence. Remember, it’s used in more informal and casual situations, so make sure you remember that when you use it.
- I hope you drive safe, Steven! I’ll see you tomorrow.
- Drive safe, Abbie, and have a good day at college.
- Please drive safe. Your father already scared me enough for today!
- I hope you drive safe, brother. Let me know when you’re home.
- Drive safe! I always look out for my friends!
- You should drive safe out there. You never know when someone won’t be paying attention.
- Please drive safe! I can’t deal with any more heartache right now!
Now let’s look at some examples of the more formal usage of “drive safely.” It’s not always used in formal settings, but it is more familiar for people who don’t know each other that well. The simple addition of the “-ly” is enough to show this.
- Drive safely on your way out of the office, Stuart.
- You should drive safely around these roads; they can be dangerous.
- I hope you drive safely, Mrs. Dunne. See you tomorrow.
- Goodbye, Mr. Smith. Drive safely.
- I’ll see you in the morning for work. Drive safely!
- I hope you drive safely. I’d hate to see anything happen to my workforce.
- Make sure you drive safely when exiting the car park.
“Drive Safe” Or “Drive Safely” – Synonyms
Finally, let’s look through some examples of alternatives that you might be able to use. If you’re not comfortable using either “drive safe” or “drive safely,” maybe one of these will work better for you.
Rather than worrying about the formal tone of the two phases, an alternative is a great way for you to avoid those rules altogether.
- Safe travels
This is the most common replacement and is used more formally to replace “drive safely.”
- Have a safe journey
You can’t go wrong with this one because “safely” won’t work in the phrase. It works well no matter what tone you use.
- Drive carefully
You can’t use “drive careful” here because “careful” isn’t a flat adverb. That helps us avoid the rule problems associated with “drive safe” and “drive safely!”
Martin is the founder of Grammarhow.com. With top grades in English and teaching experience at university level, he is on a mission to share all of his knowledge about the English language. Having written thousands of articles, he is an expert at explaining difficult topics in a simple language.
Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.