If I want to use an adverb to say, for example:

I'm not sure you could do it. I can say that percentagely / in percentage there are few hopes.

Is there a specific reason there is no such word in contemporary English?

  • 6
    Do you mean percentagewise? – Peter Shor Oct 29 '14 at 18:02
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    @PeterShor Yes, something that can be described in percentage. By the graph that you posted seems that the word "percentagely" is relatively recent, used for a while and then dead. Yet it seems pretty natural for me to say "percentagely" – FdT Oct 29 '14 at 18:06
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    I think you're looking for "statistically". – Dan Bron Oct 29 '14 at 18:13
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    The reason it doesn't exist is because not enough people have felt a need to create it; apparently the other words given (percentagewise, statistically) do the job well enough that creating yet another word has not been necessary. – Hellion Oct 29 '14 at 19:44
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    @FdT No one can possibly answer for certain why that formation never caught on, but my money's on the fact that a soft G (IPA dʒ) followed by L is relatively awkward to vocalize for most native English speakers. I'm hard-pressed to think of other examples of that in the English lexicon. – nollidge Oct 29 '14 at 19:54

There is no such word because there is that linguistic phenomenon called "blocking".

We already have percentagewise, so its existence blocks percentagely from getting any traction, or indeed from being created in the first place.

This is actually the same mechanism that ensures we still have children and not childs, or say unequal but inequality.

Percentagely, childs, unequality are only likely to get any traction at all in a meaning (register, dialect...) different from that of percentagewise, children, inequality.

Basically whenever there are two (or more) different morphological paths we can take, each of them leads to a different meaning. If we have but one meaning to cover, then whatever path we've taken, it won't let us go back and pick one of the others to arrive at just the same destination. This is a basic linguistic mechanism, not limited to English.

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    Oh, and one more thing that is actually quite important in this particular case: the suffix -ly is only really used to form adverbs from adjectives. When applied to a noun, it quite typically gets you not an adverb but an adjective. There are a few exceptions as with everything, but still, one could argue the particular alternative path you're looking to take simply does not exist — or rather, it leads not just to a different meaning but to a different part of speech. – RegDwigнt Oct 29 '14 at 21:24
  • I suggest folding that comment into your answer. It's a very good point. – Joe Oct 29 '14 at 23:31

I think you are looking for "percentually". It may be less frequently used, but it does exist and its more difficult (= more Latin) formation is what prevents it from being widely utilized (or known).

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