I just read the following sentence from a German native speaker:

We have to do this coordinated.

I am also German native speaker, so this sentence sounds like a straight translation of

Wir müssen dies koordiniert machen.

to me. However, in German, the word "koordiniert" can be both, adverb as well as adjective. I think, this is not true to its English translation "coordinated". Should not it read

We have to do this in a coordinated way.

or are both variants gramatically allowed? Can someone explain why/why not, am I right or am I wrong, please?

  • 2
    German derives adverbs from adjectives through zero-derivation; that is, the adverb is identical to the adjective. That is occasionally true in English as well, but the regular, productive way of forming adverbs from adjectives in English is by adding -ly. This can be done with past participles, too, though the result is sometimes awkward or clumsy. I personally think “We must do this coordinatedly” is acceptable, but it is a bit clumsy, and I'm sure you'll find lots of people who find it unacceptable. Jun 18, 2015 at 12:01
  • 1
    I also find coordinatedly better than "coordinated" in this example.
    – GEdgar
    Jun 18, 2015 at 12:16
  • 2
    @GEdgar It's grammatical, but I'm not sure about 'better' here. Jun 18, 2015 at 13:30
  • The word "coordinated" has more than two syllables and should not get -ly appended, as far as I can remember from my school days (>15 years ago). Thank you for your answers! Jun 18, 2015 at 13:32
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    @rexkogitans That is not a rule; it is at the very best a vague tendency. There are plenty of three-or-more-syllable adjectives that freely take -ly (begrudgingly, unsparingly, remorsefully, irreversibly, etc.). Jun 18, 2015 at 15:43

2 Answers 2


"We have to do this coordinated." appears to be the word-for-word translation of "Wir müssen dies koordiniert machen."

Translation from German to English is better done by an Anglophone with the knowledge of German, as the nuances of such rendering are only known to a native speaker.

The following may sound better:

"We must coordinate and do this."

"We must (have to) do this in a coordinated manner (way)" - as you've figured out.

  • I'd upvote for your two fine suggestions, but, as Janus says, "We have to do this coordinatedly." is another word-for-word translation of "Wir müssen dies koordiniert machen." Jun 18, 2015 at 13:33
  • @Edwin Ashworth: Thanks. Yeah, I realize that, having just an elementary level knowledge of German.
    – Sankarane
    Jun 18, 2015 at 13:47

I think you're technically right. coordinated as past-ppl is an adjective, and in your prime example, is attempting to modify "to do". You can sometimes coerce adjectives to act as adverbs. It's done all the time in informal English ("He did good." "It's going good, thank you." "Go slow.")

A better way of phrasing the prime example is "We should/must coordinate this".

  • “Go slow” is not informal; it is correct. This is a misunderstanding and hypercorrection. Slow, slower, slowest are not adjectives “coerced” into being adverbs in some incorrect way. They are in fact both adjectives and adverbs. Slowest and fastest are opposites. “Who ran fastest? Who ran slowest? Well, Joe ran slower than Mary did, but Puddles ran the slowest of all of them.”
    – tchrist
    Jun 18, 2015 at 23:36
  • If slow is an adverb, it's only because incorrect usage has prevailed. It's a verb and an adjective. The adverb is slowly. We could say "fastly", but we don't, becuase fast isn't really the opposite of slow except by a very old quirk of usage. Indeed, "he held fast" means he didn't move. If "he ran fast" it means nearly the opposite. In that sense, fast means quick and you would not say "He ran quick". The rules say that for single-syllable adverbs, add -er or -est without complication, but if you take the proper adverbial form, you'd have to say "X ran more quickly than Y"
    – Otheus
    Jun 19, 2015 at 16:53

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