Attention grammar police, can you actually "eat healthy"?
Since eat is a verb, shouldn't it be followed by an adverb, like "healthfully" instead of an adjective?
Here we go again...
People say things and you become used to hearing something like this used incorrectly. However, it is a dominant phrase in society, even though it conflicts with grammatical correctness.
Eat Healthfully? This sounds ridiculous, even though it may be grammatically correct... right?
Yes, right on all counts. Eat is a verb and must be modified by an adverb, therefore healthfully is correct. Or, you could just eat healthy foods and solve all problems. (Not to mention doing something go for your body at the same time.)
A number of adjectives keep the same form when used as an adverb. Not entirely sure why but in some cases I suspect it is because adding an -ly would make an odd word. Like "fast". We don't say "walk fastly". We say "walk fast".
Same thing with words that already end in -ly. "Daily prayer" as an adjective. "Pray daily" as an adverb.
Technically the adverb form of "healthy" is "healthily" but I don't mind using healthy as an adverb for the reasons mentioned. In formal writing I would use the correct form.
Different things sound normal to different people, depending on where you live and what you're used to hearing. For me, "eat healthy" is something that I've heard before, probably in American shows or publications, but grammatically I just feel that it's wrong (as it uses an adjective), and I have an urge to add that "i", to make "healthily". I've never heard the word healthfully before, so it's not an option I would go for. It sounds a bit strange, but again, if you're used to it then it probably sounds normal.
It's very interesting the difference between British and American English here: "Healthfully" would sound ridiculous in the UK. A lot of people do use "Healthy" as an adverb (although, to be honest, a lot of British people don't modify the adjective to an adverb at all) but it's grammatically incorrect and "Healthily" is the correct adverb.
"Walk Fast" is also incorrect over here (although, again, lots of people use it), you should rather say, "Walk quickly."
Thank you all for your answers. I work in an elementary school and our Department of Health encourages the students to "Eat Healthy" on posters and t-shirts. That bothers me every time I see it, since we should be teaching the kids better grammar. However, I think both "healthily" and "healthfully" sound awkward. I'll take greatparenting's advice and tell them to just eat healthy food.
In this sentence, eat is functioning as a linking verb as it is not the act of eating that is refered to, but rather, what is being described is a concept about the nature of the food being eaten.
As a result, an adjective is needed rather than an adverb. A clear example could be the following sentence with a linking verb: Mary smells nice.
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