An adverb is a word that modifies an adjective, adverb, preposition, phrase, or sentence, expressing some relation of place, time, circumstance, causality, manner, or degree.

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Is “rather” shifting to become a verb?

In colloquial English, I constantly run across sentences of the form: I rather my [noun] [verb] A quick Google search returns tons of examples: I rather my opponents don't find out. I ...
45
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7answers
4k views

What exactly is an “adverb”?

From comments to “Weekdays” used as an adverb", I learn that The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary says "open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.", shows the word weekdays is an adverb. It seems to me ...
42
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6answers
264k views

Is it “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely”?

When should one sign a letter with "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely"?
40
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11answers
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Is the usage of 'personally' in 'I personally don't like something' redundant?

What is the difference between the following? I personally don't like wax museums. I don't like wax museums. The adverb personally does not seem to emphasize anything here. Is it ...
34
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19answers
6k views

What is the “thirsty” equivalent of “ravenously”?

When you eat something very hungrily, you can use the adverb "ravenously" to describe it. But when you drink something very fast in a similar way to quench your thirst, what adverb can you use to ...
32
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10answers
174k views

Is “fastly” a correct word?

Slow has the adverb slowly. I tend to use fastly as the adverb for fast. However, it is underlined in most spell checkers I use, which makes me wonder about the existence of this word. Is fastly a ...
30
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2answers
18k views

What is the difference between “maybe” and “may be”?

What is the difference in meaning and usage between maybe and may be? Are they synonymous?
30
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5answers
2k views

What are the historical processes of preposition coining in English?

RegDwight's excellent answer showing the historical usage of despite got me thinking about the processes by which new prepositions are coined. Prepositions are generally considered a closed class, and ...
29
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4answers
3k views

When should “farther” and “further” be used?

I know I learned the difference between the usage of farther and further in school, but I can never remember where each one should be used. Can someone help me out here?
28
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4answers
16k views

Correct position of “only”

Which is grammatically correct? I can only do so much in this time. or I can do only so much in this time.
27
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5answers
8k views

“Specially” vs “especially”

When should each of them be used?
26
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7answers
4k views

How common is “thrice”?

Our proofreader, a native speaker of American English, just won't let me use this word. Every single time I try to sneak it onto one of our sites, she replaces it with three times. Now, I do realize ...
25
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3answers
38k views

Is it 'what it looks like' or 'how it looks like'?

I live in a country where English is not the native language. Oftentimes I hear my coworkers say they want to know or determine "how it looks like". This is grammatically closer to our native ...
25
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6answers
15k views

Explanation of “must needs”

Recently I ran across the sentence: "Just why the law prescribed thirty-nine lashes instead of forty or forty-one and so on, must needs remain unanswered." How did a plural verb like "needs" ...
24
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4answers
156k views

Difference between “publicly” and “publically”

I know publically appears as an incorrect spelling in most dictionaries (in fact as I type this up on my Safari browser it keeps trying to correct the spelling to publicly). However I have seen the ...
22
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6answers
3k views

Are the rules regarding absolute modifiers too absolute?

A common grammar lesson that was taught to me in the US and that I've had to teach abroad in EFL classrooms is that we're not to use adverbs of emphasis with absolute modifiers, just as we're not ...
22
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5answers
14k views

Is there any other way you can “wax” as you do when you “wax philosophical”?

The wax in the phrase "wax philosophical" is a pretty strange bird. Its wax is obviously not the ordinary definition of wax, which my dictionary summarizes as an "oily, water-resistant substance", a ...
22
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4answers
57k views

“A bit” vs. “a little bit” vs. “a little”

Is there a difference between a bit, a little bit and a little in the following context? He is a little bit angry. He is a little angry. He is a bit angry. Or do these sentences mean the ...
20
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6answers
40k views

Why do you say “so do I”?

Why is the order of the words in "so do I" or "nor do I" different from the normal order?
20
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9answers
3k views

Referring to past times with “hence”

From Tor.com, an interesting use of the word hence: Minutes ago, J.K. Rowling finally announced her plans behind Pottermore, the mysterious website that appeared a week hence with only a “Coming ...
20
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2answers
2k views

Why has the word “thrice” fallen out of common usage?

I'm an American living in America, but my workplace has a lot of immigrants from India here. They all use "thrice" very commonly, which is wonderful to my ears! Thrice is such a delightful word. ...
19
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5answers
855 views

How did the adjective “just” come to take on so many adverbial meanings?

Just is a pretty useful adverb. It can carry several different meanings: very recently: I just finished the novel. exactly: That’s just what he meant. by a narrow margin: He just missed me ...
18
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8answers
6k views

What does 'infinitesimally small' mean?

If infinite is the opposite of infinitesimal, and small is the opposite of large, then: infinitely large ---------- Means "very large" infinitely small --------- Means "very small" infinitesimally ...
18
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4answers
39k views

Using “seldomly”

I'm not a native English speaker. If at all possible I try to use spell checkers while writing anything on the web hence using one in Firefox as well. Whenever I try to write "seldomly" it highlights ...
18
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3answers
1k views

You don't want to answer this word-placement question, now do you?

Prompted by this question I got to thinking about the placement of the word now. If it's placed before the comma, it refers to an immediate condition: You don't want to answer this word-placement ...
17
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5answers
29k views

“Eventually” vs. “finally”

What is the difference between finally and eventually? He eventually escaped and made his way back to England. He finally escaped and made his way back to England.
17
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4answers
52k views

“Can hardly wait” versus “can't hardly wait”

This has been bothering me for a while and I'm finally at a forum where I feel like I might get an answer. I have heard people say "I can hardly wait for summer to get here" and I've also heard "I ...
17
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4answers
115k views

Get hold of, get ahold of, get a hold of

Under what circumstances would you prefer one of the following over the other two? Get hold of Get ahold of Get a hold of
17
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1answer
35k views

Forward vs Forwards [closed]

As an adverb, what is the difference between forward and forwards?
16
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6answers
29k views

“Like something more” or “like something better”

When people like something more than something else, it's common for me to hear them say they like it better than something else. Is this proper English? I've always thought the word more fits better, ...
16
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3answers
69k views

How do I properly hyphenate “well thought out”?

Is it spelled well thought-out, or well-thought out, or well thought out?
16
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5answers
104k views

Should an adverb go before or after a verb?

For example: The word rarely turns up outside of those contexts. The word turns up rarely outside of those contexts. Which one is correct and why?
15
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3answers
1k views

“You just can't” vs. “you can't just ”

I'm a bit confused about this. Which expression is correct? You can't just do that. or You just can't do that. I'm trying to say: You can't just bash an ideology because of what ...
15
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3answers
3k views

“Sometimes”, “oftentimes” — is there a -times word for “very rarely”?

If something happens sometimes, it happens occasionally. If something happens oftentimes, it happens often. Is there an equivalent word for something happening very rarely?
15
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3answers
1k views

How do you tell if synonyms of “almost” default to meaning “less than”?

Having just had a chat with Em1, I noticed that some words or phrases that mean almost will mean less than when used alone, and other synonyms will mean greater than. For example, nearly and close to ...
15
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6answers
247k views

Difference between “supposedly” and “supposably”

What is the difference between supposedly and supposably? Both are real words but seem to have confusingly similar definitions. Supposably: Capable of being supposed : conceivable ...
15
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3answers
23k views

“Can easily be” vs. “can be easily” — what's the difference?

I'm wondering what the difference is between: It can easily be obtained. It can be easily obtained. Also, what's the preferred way to write it? If there is any... I googled for both ...
14
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4answers
93k views

“I'm home” or “I'm at home”

The second form looks more correct to me, but the first expression is present in several titles of movies and songs. Which form is preferable?
14
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5answers
4k views

Can “real” be used as an adverb to describe an adjective?

Is this correct? That is a real cool answer. I learned that that was incorrect, since "real" is an adjective which can describe a noun, e.g. "real answer" but it is not an adverb which can ...
14
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4answers
782 views

Grammatical role of “the hell”?

I’m wondering exactly which grammatical role the word hell takes on in expressions such as Get the hell out of here the hell in this case seems to modify the phrasal verb to get out (get out ...
13
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7answers
72k views

Is it ok to start a sentence with “also”?

Is it ok to start a sentence with also? Also, I had given him the file you sent me.
13
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1answer
2k views

What's the correct usage of “hopefully”?

I said, "Hopefully, I will get better" to a friend and he said that I was using it incorrectly, stating that hopefully is an adverb meaning "full of hope" that modifies a verb. It sounds right, but ...
13
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8answers
28k views

“Maybe” versus “perhaps”

Was there ever a real distinction between the two? I always have the urge to use maybe for discussing state and perhaps for actions. I know this is only because perhaps (by hap) and happen (befall by ...
12
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9answers
4k views

How did “run over him” evolve to “run him over” over the last 50 years?

Growing up in Alabama, I never heard anyone bastardize the phrase "run over him (with the car)" to "run him over (with the car)", not even on TV or movies. I first noticed the change as I began to ...
12
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5answers
530 views

The use of “real” in the following cases [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Real quick question If you listen real close... Can you swing by real quick... Sentences like the above two are what I often hear in daily life. If I didn't ...
12
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4answers
2k views

He nearly drowned

Imagine two similar, but technically different scenarios: While swimming he was caught by the torrent. It put him under water, he breathed in some water, got unconscious. Some passers-by pulled him ...
12
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4answers
464 views

What meaning is “legitimate(ly)” gaining?

I'm familiar with the following meanings of legitimately In a way that conforms to the law or to rules and In a way that can be defended with logic or justification; fairly (both from ...
12
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5answers
541 views

Is it OK to use “empty-handed” on an animal?

Can I write the following? One of the seagulls spotted a fish and dove after it, but came up empty-handed If not, what other word I can use to replace empty-handed?
12
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3answers
39k views

Correct usage of “parallel” versus “in parallel” versus “parallelly”

I wish to know if any of the following sentences are incorrect: Using A and B parallel. Using A and B in parallel. Using A and B parallelly. Now I suspect most people are going to ...
12
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5answers
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Can “already” be used after a simple past verb in American English?

A British colleague asked if these two sentences are grammatically acceptable in American English: They found already high recognition in Europe and we wish to carry that further. ...