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The adjective nice can be inflected: nicer, nicest. Can the derived adverb nicely be inflected as well, or does it only have the absolute form?

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No, people would think you were soft in the head if you came out with, for example, nicelier. I suppose I could have phrased things more nicely - but to be honest, even that seems slightly clunky to me. I'd just use nicer for all contexts and be done with it. –  FumbleFingers Nov 17 '13 at 4:47
    
...having said that, "quicklier" does exist (but it's going out of fashion, not coming in). –  FumbleFingers Nov 17 '13 at 4:51
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If you spoke Early Modern English, you would probably say nicelier, nicer, more nicely, more nice or even more nicelier or more nicer. Considering that you speak Modern English, however, I advise that you use more nicely as your default form and nicer only in colloquial settings. –  Anonym May 17 at 5:01
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2 Answers 2

There is a grammar rule in English that adverbs in -ly and participles have forms of comparison with "more" and "most". There are some adverbs with forms of comparison in -er/-est as early, earlier, earliest. The Longman English Grammar by L. G. Alexander has "The comparison of adverbs" in paragraph 7.4.

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Only adverbs transparently formed by adding -ly to the stem are blocked from morphological comparison. Early (which is also the adjective) is not transparently formed from an adjective ear, which is why it is an apparent exception. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet May 17 at 10:43
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According to the wikitionary, "more nicely" is the comparative form.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/nicely

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