What is the correct usage of the adjective "loud"?

  1. Please sing louder
  2. Please sing more loudly

I came across this in one of the quizzes at office, and as per them, the correct answer was option 2. I really don't get what's wrong with option 1.

4 Answers 4


They are both well-formed and idiomatic sentences. Whoever insisted on that quiz answer alone is trying to specify a very particular standard, where modifiers of verbs must outwardly look like an adverb (using '-ly'). But that is not the case as 'louder' works as an adverb, too.


Both; louder and more loudly are the same as loud is also an adverb not always an adjective. Example: Can you speak louder, please? in this case 'louder' modifies 'speak.'


The answer is 2 because more loudly is an adverb modifying the verb sing while the adjective louder modifies nouns and noun phrases. Generally, people use the adjectival comparative form when what's required adverbial comparative form.

  1. Adjective: Loud (positive), louder (comparative), loudest (superlative)
  2. Adverb: Loudly (positive), more loudly (comparative), most loudly (superlative)

Personally, I think the comparative/superlative forms should be shared because I find that the -er/-est suffix very pleasing to the ear.

  • 1
    But OALD, CALD, Collins, and MW among others also attest to loud as an adverb, as in Yell as loud as you can. But MW says it is not used before a verb, where loudly would be expected.
    – choster
    Jul 28, 2014 at 13:57
  • @choster, sorry for the delay in responding. Now outside of fixed phrases such as "laughed out loud" and "as loud as", does it occur as an adverb. Additionally, the "as...as" structure also allows for adverbs: "He yelled as loudly as he could." Jul 29, 2014 at 13:26

Loudly loudlier and loudliest are acceptable forms as well

  • 1
    Hi Thomas, welcome to EL&U. When answering a question, it is strongly recommended that you provide explanations and/or sources for what you're saying.
    – Adam
    Oct 8, 2015 at 4:40
  • People may use them, but I don't think they are acceptable outside of very informal circumstances.
    – Mitch
    Oct 8, 2015 at 15:01

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