in the sentence:

"improperly Covid Aid Flowed to Fishery Businesses, New Jersey Official Finds"

is the adverb "improperly" describing "Flowed" or Covid?

  • What's the source of the quote? Seems like bad English to me.
    – gotube
    Jun 20, 2023 at 18:55
  • that is from NY this morning, I thought does it improve the clarity if add a comma like: "improperly, Covid Aid Flowed to Fishery Businesses, New Jersey Official Finds"? Jun 20, 2023 at 19:13
  • 2
    I can't find any news article that contains that sentence; the closest one I can find is this one that correctly says improper. It's possible that the one you saw was just a typographical error.
    – stangdon
    Jun 20, 2023 at 19:47
  • @stangdon, yes that is the one a saw. I'm very sorry I didn't mention this before, as an English studant came up with the idea of tinkering around with the sentence, In my mind using the word 'improperly' makes more sence but then cam the doubt if I could use it that way Jun 20, 2023 at 19:53
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    To use the adverb correctly, the title would be "Covid Aid improperly Flowed to Fishery Businesses".
    – Graffito
    Jun 20, 2023 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


Improperly is an adverb, so it should modify a verb, adjective or clause. "Covid" is a noun, flowed is a verb. So "improperly" can only be modifying verb "flowed", or the clause which it heads.

This is a headline, written in barely grammatical "headlinese". Don't spend any more time trying to analyse the grammar of headlines.

  • thank you for your response. Please let me take this oportunity just to ask one thing, in this case could "improperly" modify flowed even not being directaly before it? Jun 20, 2023 at 23:08
  • yes, modifiers don't have to be adjacent to the word they modify,
    – James K
    Jun 21, 2023 at 1:55

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