You Should Say ‘Real Good’, For Reals

Today you’ll learn how to use ‘real good’ and ‘for reals’, just like a native speaker.

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Have you heard?

Real’ is not just an adjective anymore. It’s an adverb!

We say this a lot- “That ice cream was real good,” or, “This feels real nice”.

It’s taken the place of the adverb ‘really’, but it is very informal, albeit common.

It’s mainly used in North America and Scotland. source

It’s even in the Oxford Learner's Dictionary! source

Some language dictators really don’t like ‘real’ as an adverb, though, as evidenced in the article, Do it Real Quick, Or The Death of the Adverb. source

Now, why do we say ‘for reals’? It’s the same as ‘for real’, which first showed up in 1926. It means ‘really, truly, honestly’.

In fact, ‘for reals’ started showing up as early as 1980 in our lexicon. Although people still say it, a lot, it’s not yet in the dictionary.

However, it is a ‘word we’re watching’ according to a Merriam Webster blog post. source

For reals though you guys, I say this!

Like, “I’ll be there Friday, for reals,” or, “Is that for reals? I don’t believe you.”

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Pop Culture R&R

The movie Clerks, from 1994, is real good. For real. It’s also real funny.

This was director Kevin Smith’s first film, and it came out at the beginning of the indie film revolution. It’s a classic.

Beware, though, it’s not family friendly!

I don’t say this in the video, but, just to prove to you what a classic it is, I remember seeing this in Madrid, Spain, around 1999. There was a theater there that showed it every week!

The director also wrote and acted in this movie. He’s Silent Bob.

You really must watch it. It’s black and white, and shows the reason why indie movies hit such a sweet spot in our culture- challenging Hollywood ideas of story arc and expectations, these low-budget creative endeavors changed the way movies were conceived.

Another film I love by Kevin Smith is Dogma, from 1999.

Mr. Smith is still writing and directing today, as well as writing comic books and hosting the popular podcast Hollywood Babble-on.

Have a question about vocabulary or pop culture?

Leave a comment and I’ll respond, as well as give you a shout out in a future video!