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I found myself writing the word "earlierly" in my text editor and got a little red line underneath it. I must admit I was unsure about the spelling but was a bit surprised when I didn't find a spelling suggestion. I googled it and Google also suggested: "Did you mean: earlier?". Now I wonder, is "earlierly" a construction that should be avoided? Is it perhaps even a case of such a strong word as incorrect? And, if so, (I am sure you can understand what I am trying to say, but) how should I instead put what I am trying to say?

EDIT: I wanted to use it a bit like: "I have earlierly introduced this problem". A bit like: "I have eagerly / happily / sadly introduced you to this"

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Show us your sentence, at least. – tchrist Feb 4 '13 at 13:16
@AndrewLeach But of course! Earlier being the comparative degree of early, itself the adverb form from the adjective ear, an archaic spelling of ere. :) – tchrist Feb 4 '13 at 13:26
Before is earlier. So I have had this problem before is likely what you are looking for – mplungjan Feb 4 '13 at 13:53
Hm, yes but not if I want it to be clear that it is just once. Before sort of gives me the feeling that someone has seen the problem time after time after time. Also, come to think of it, I want to change the word had to introduced. (I seem to be complicated...) Another Edit pending... :) – jonalv Feb 4 '13 at 14:02
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I believe you're looking for the word "previously", as in, "I had this problem at a prior time". "Earlierly", while seeming like it'd be the word for "I had this problem at an earlier time", sadly, does not actually exist.

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"sadly" is indeed the word. :) However, don't you agree that the meaning of previous / previously is a bit different from the word earlier? Maybe there is nothing better... ...sadly. – jonalv Feb 4 '13 at 14:06
"earlier" is a synonym of "previously": thefreedictionary.com/earlier (scroll down to the thesaurus section) – Yamikuronue Feb 4 '13 at 14:11

Not having seen any context, early is what you need, unless the context requires the superlative the earliest. There is absolutely no such word as earlierly. Early or the earliest can be an adjective or an adverb. I hope this helps.

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I have had this problem earlier.

Allowed, as well as being the comparative form of early, earlier has a meaning "occuring previously".

I have had this problem before.

Recommended, some favour using earlier only in the comparative sense. This has the same meaning, and avoids that objection.

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