Slow or Slowly? Difference Explained (With Examples)

“Slow” and “slowly” have interchangeable meanings, according to most native speakers. While this isn’t technically correct, this article will explain all the differences (and why so many grammar rules have been forgotten about or ignored).

What Is The Difference Between “Slow” and “Slowly”?

“Slow” is the adjective form and it should only be used to modify nouns, e.g. “It’s a slow process.” “Slowly” is the adverb form, which is only used to modify verbs, e.g. “He speaks slowly.” “Slow” can be synonymous with “slowly” informally (but not the other way around).

slow or slowly

Many adjectives are beginning to replace their adverbial form as the English language evolves. It’s common for more informal trends to start becoming more popular in the age of technology and texting.

Simplicity is key for language evolution, which is why so many people prefer using “slow” to modify certain verbs over “slowly.” Ideally, you want to avoid being one of these people.

It’s best to practice standard English throughout both your speaking and writing. However, you’ll be forgiven by native speakers if you end up using slow like this:

  • I went quite slow.

Here, “went” is the modified verb form, meaning that “slowly” should be used. However, “slow” is also appropriate, but only in informal and spoken English.

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How to Use “Slow” In A Sentence

  1. I know that I’m slow, and I really can’t change that.
  2. He’s quite slow on the uptake. Don’t mock him too much.
  3. Do you have to be so slow? I’m trying so hard to move here.
  4. It’s a slow process. I’m sorry we can’t speed it up.
  5. This is way too slow for my liking! I need to go faster.

“Slow” should only ever be used as an adjective. It’s important to use it in this way to modify nouns correctly.

However, there are some instances in spoken English where slow might be used as an adverb. Since it’s fairly common, we thought it was appropriate to share some more examples with slow as an adverb:

  • Go slow around this corner.
  • Drive slow, please. I need to focus.
  • Do you always eat slow?
  • Can you not speak slow anymore? I don’t have time for that.
  • Let’s walk slow around town. It’ll allow us to take in the sites.

How to Use “Slowly” In A Sentence

  1. I need you to drive slowly around these parts. I don’t know which house we’re stopping at.
  2. Can you go slowly, please? I’m trying to take in the surroundings, but I’m getting a bit lost.
  3. I eat slowly because I like to savor my food. If you have a problem with that, I really don’t care.
  4. He speaks slowly, which causes a lot of problems for the people sitting in his meetings.
  5. Do you have to walk slowly all the time? I feel like I can’t go anywhere with you!

“Slowly” is the adverb form, and it’s the only form you should use when modifying verbs. “Slow” can work in similar sentences, but it’s best to leave it as “slowly” to show that you understand standard English rules.

Is It “Too Slow” or “Too Slowly”?

“Too slow” and “too slowly” are both correct. “Too slow” works when using it to modify a noun, just like you would with the standard adjective form. “Too slowly” works when using it to modify a verb, again, just like the adverb form does.

  • You’re too slow! I don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with me.
  • It’s progressing too slowly. Is there anything we can do to speed it up?

Is It “More Slow” or “More Slowly”?

“More slow” is the comparative form of the adjective. It should be used when a noun is modified. However, since “slow” is only one syllable, the comparative form should remove “more” and become “slower.” “More slowly” is the comparative adverb form.

  • He is much slower than I thought he would be. (Noun = “he”)
  • You are going more slowly than you were before. Speed up. (Verb = “going”)

What Word Type is “Slowly”?

“Slowly” is an adverbial form. It is used whenever you want to modify a verb, and the “-ly” ending is added to the adjective “slow” to help us establish this. It is limited to being an adverb, though. You cannot use it to modify anything but verbs.

Is It Right To Say “Slowly”?

“Slowly” Is right to say, and it can be provided as an instructive, one-word response to someone’s question. It’s a great way to show that you need someone to go slower than they currently are, but it only works if the sentence you respond to has a verb in it.

  • How do you want me to move this?
  • Slowly.

“Move” is in the original question, and “slowly” works to modify it.

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