General Writing and Grammar Help/adverbial phrase


Dear Ted,

Can you please tell me if the expression “word for word”  is being used as an “adverbial phrase” in the following sentence:

“I translated the document word for word.”

Thank you.



P.S.  It’s been awhile  -  I hope all is well with you.  Mrs. Rich says “hi”

Dear Rich:

It's good to hear from you.  Give my best to the "missus."


word for word
In exactly the same words; verbatim.

word-for-word (wûrdfr-wûrd) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

word′ for word′
1. in exactly the same words; verbatim.
2. one word at a time, without regard for the sense of the whole.
word′-for-word′, adj.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

*** The three words are considered to be a phrase.  In most cases, word for word is an adverb.  However, the phrase can be used as an adjective, if it is hyphenated:  word-for-word.   EXAMPLE:   So that we would not lose his place, the speaker used his index finger as a word-for-word guide through his lengthy speech.


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Ted Nesbitt


I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.


I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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