Adjectives or adverbs – part 2

February 10, 2011pdf

Fine and finely

The adverb fine means ‘well’. It is used in some informal expressions.

  • She is doing fine.

The adverb finely is used to talk about small careful adjustments.

  • finely ground particles
  • a finely tuned machine

Free and freely

The adverb free means ‘without payment’. The adverb freely means ‘without restriction’.

  • Buy two shirts and get one free.
  • Speak freely. (= Speak without fear or inhibition.)

Hard and hardly

The adverb hard has a similar meaning to the adjective hard.

  • He works hard.
  • Hit it hard.

Hardly has a negative meaning. It means ‘almost not’.

  • We have got hardly any rice left.

High and highly

High is used to talk about height. Highly often means ‘very much’.

  • He threw it as high as he could.
  • It is highly amusing.

Late and lately

The adverb late has a similar meaning to the adjective late. Lately means ‘recently’.

  • He arrived late.
  • Have you read anything interesting lately?

Most and mostly

Most is the superlative form of much.

  • This is the most interesting film I have ever seen.

Most can mean ‘very’ in a very formal style.

  • It is a most interesting novel. (= It is a very interesting novel.)

Mostly means ‘mainly’.

  • My friends are mostly vegetarians.

Real and really

In informal American English, real is often used instead of really.

  • She sings real well. (= She sings really well.)
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