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Aster's avatar

Is , "you should be eating healthy" correct grammar?

Asked by Aster (15578 points ) 1 month ago

Not once have I ever read, “I eat healthfully” or, “I eat healthily.” Are they grammatically correct or is, “I eat healthy” right? Because this last one is all I ever hear.
You don’t have to reply if you’re not interested in grammar or the question, though.

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26 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

No. I have heard ‘healthily” so it is not unknown. But more often I have heard it expressed differently – “you should it eat a healthier diet.”

Healthy is an adjective, so it ought to be used as an adjective, not as an adverb.

Aster's avatar

That’s so surprising to me. I have not once heard, “healthily.” Never.

janbb's avatar

It seems to be a change in the language to say “I eat healthy” but it is not correct. In the same way, “Drive safe” has become common parlance when it should really be the adverb form “Drive safely.”

ucme's avatar


CWOTUS's avatar

This kind of change in the language has come about because of the process of verbing nouns (like that). Turning nouns into verbs (as gerunds, for example) is also part of the way we move the language. It’s so common now that we’re adverbing adjectives, as you have exampled. (Don’t quote me on that. I’m just having fun now.) Some of that stems from laziness and inability (or lack of desire, care or willingness) to understand and apply the correct rules of the language, too, and the simple definitions of words. Some people also seem to be afraid of using correct English, because it marks them as edumacated ‘n shit.

For example, you can probably hear sentences such as this any day of the week: “Let’s see if this is the house for you and I.” Wrong, wrong, wrong! That’s the opposite error from “Let’s you and me check out this house.” Also wrong, but even more widely accepted – so widely, in fact, that it almost seems “more correct” than “Why don’t you and I check out this house.” And we seem to’ve completely given up on “will / shall”, “who / whom” and “would / could / should have” and the completely execrable “would of” ... gaaah.

We substitute “inflammable” for “flammable” – and they both mean exactly the same thing. What up widdat? What kine o’ shizzle dis be? Don’ axe me.

Don’t even get me started on the way people substitute homonyms willy-nilly: there-their-they’re; its and it’s; reign for rein, and the list goes on, but my time be runnin’ out.

dxs's avatar

No, the correct grammar is “You should be eating Healthy.”

Yetanotheruser's avatar

“Healthy”, in this context, is an adjective used as a noun generally accepted to mean “a healthy diet”. I believe “to eat healthy” is understood to mean “to eat (a) healthy (diet)”, or some variant of that idea.

kritiper's avatar

Eating is always healthy. Eating better is healthier.

Adagio's avatar

I am familiar with the word healthily, eating healthily works just fine in this instance. The use of the expression “eating healthy” has always irked me.

Buttonstc's avatar

Perhaps one of the most well known examples of where an adverb should be used but isn’t is the Apple motto “Think Different”

The Simpsons even poked fun at it with little Lisa proclaiming “of course it should be “Think Differently”

I just loved that little bit.


Stinley's avatar

British English it is always “I eat healthily”. Healthy is an adjective and healthily is the adverb. I looked it up in Collins, a British dictionary. I also looked this up in Merriam-Webster which is a American dictionary and it is the same.

It sounds very American to me to use an adverb as an adjective, so I think it must be common enough usage to have made it into TV and films. Is it correct grammar? No.

JLeslie's avatar

One of my pet peeves is people saying safe and personal when it should be safely and personally. It’s like half of America has an aversion to adding the suffix LY. I have to admit, I never thought about the word healthy. I think I might sometimes use healthy incorrectly? I’m not even sure. Now I am going to catch myself when I do if I am doing it.

@Stinley Not all of America, but a good portion don’t use the adverb when they should. I actually don’t see it on scripted shows much, but I do on reality TV. Some parts of America do it more than others. I first heard it in our Midwest region when I moved out there for college many years ago. They also don’t use the suffix EN. They get bit by a mosquito, not bitten. Part of it tends to be related to education level also, which explains why scripted shows are more likely not to have those mistakes.

Aster's avatar

I had a friend who would say, “I’m so glad I live simple.”
“I try to eat healthy” is now, in my opinion, fairly well established in America.

Stinley's avatar

It just sounds half finished to me. I’m waiting for the noun to come after healthy: ‘I try to eat healthy…food’

zenvelo's avatar

@Stinley It’s half baked….

janbb's avatar

Halfly baked?

Stinley's avatar

halfily baked

Yetanotheruser's avatar

Baked half-way?

JLeslie's avatar

@Aster I think we are dropping the word food at the end. I try to eat healthy food would be correct.

CWOTUS's avatar

If you’re dropping food at the end, then you may be eating too quickly.

zenvelo's avatar

If you’re dropping food at the end, you need to change your shirt.

janbb's avatar

But if you change your shirt, you need to do and fold your laundry!

Yetanotheruser's avatar

I would drop the “you need to do and fold your laundry!

P.S. Has this become a “whisper” thread?

Adagio's avatar

I’ve been thinking about this overnight. You could instead say ”… healthy diet.”

When I use the word diet I am referring to the kind of food one usually eats, not a restrictive diet undertaken in order to lose weight.

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