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Is this expression acceptable?

I told her the whole story naively honestly.

Thank you.

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  • Of course. Why do you think it not acceptable?
    – GEdgar
    Jun 23, 2013 at 12:28
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    @GEdgar It certainly sounds awkward to have a double adverb like that. I'd probably find a way to adjust the sentence to use "naively honest" - i.e. "I told her the whole story, in a naively honest manner," or use "naively and honestly". Jun 23, 2013 at 12:36
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    @snailboat As it has answers here and not on ELL, I've deleted the ELL counterpart. All should be well now :)
    – WendiKidd
    Jun 23, 2013 at 15:51

2 Answers 2

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The way your sentence is written, it reads as though naively is qualifying honestly rather than I, the subject of the sentence. Consider the following example:

He ran unbelievably quickly.

Here, it is clear that the first adverb, unbelievably is qualifying the second, quickly. If you want both adverbs to qualify the subject, you should connect them with and:

I told her the whole story naively and honestly.

2

It depends on what you are trying to say.

If you are trying to say that you told the whole story in a manner that was both naive and honest, then "I told her the whole story, naively and honestly" might be better.

On the other hand, if you think it was naive of you to tell her the whole story, then "Naively, I told her the whole story honestly" might better convey this.

Since there are two adverbs in a row, they ought to at least be separated by a comma - the meaning would then be closer to the first alternative, above.

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