The Grammarphobia Blog

Massaging the message

Q: My voice-mail greeting states: “Please speak slowly and loudly so your message can be clearly understood.” It seems correct to me, but it sounds awkward when I fetch my messages. Is there something wrong with it?

A: There’s nothing wrong grammatically with that sentence, but all the “ly” endings do make it sound a bit monotonous.

Here’s a suggestion. Why not drop the last adverb? “Please speak slowly and loudly so your message can be understood.” A message that’s understood is, one would hope, clearly understood. Just an idea.

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