Grammar and usage's 'Believe it or not'
Here's a sentence from the Wall Street Journal:
Analysts say the industry politics that led to the current format battle will likely end up keeping most consumers on the sidelines for awhile.
See any problems -- other than that it should be for a while (while is a noun, the object of the preposition for; awhile is an adverb used when there is no preposition)?
Take a close look at likely. Yes, according to the usage experts recently consulted by Copy Editor newsletter, it's not use well here as an adverb. Check your Webster's, and you'll find that essentially backed up. Despite that "ly" ending, likely most commonly is an adjective and should be paired with a "to be" verb. So the more correct form would be: Analysts say the industry politics that led to the current format battle is likely to end up keeping most consumers on the sidelines for awhile.
So when is "likely" an adverb? When it is paired with another: She will very likely go (to use the dictionary's example).
Who knew? And before you jump me and say, "Who cares?" please remember: Here at CSJ, we report, you decide.
Personally, I figure this one is quickly headed for the dustheap in the modern era, but not according to that range of folks CE newsletter consulted. Here is the usage note from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
Used as an adverb likely is most commonly preceded by a modifier such as very or quite: He will quite likely require some help with his classes. But the unmodified use of likely is common enough in educated writing, and though it might be better avoided in highly formal style, it should not be regarded as incorrect: They'll likely buy a new car this year.
Here's another one mentioned before, but worth noting again: Expect.
I expect he will be here Tuesday is incorrect.
Why? Because expect is a transitive verb. (Open your dictionary. Check it out.) As a result, it needs an object, not a verb phrase.
So the "correct" form would be I expect him to be here Tuesday.
Another one probably headed for obsolesence, but for now ...