This SE QA explains that both blazing and blazingly are valid English words (despite what my spell-checker claims).

Can anyone explain why they are both valid, and the difference between the words.

In context, what is the difference between blazing fast and blazingly fast?

Bonus Points: The comments in the referenced SE question indicate regional differences in the use of these words. Does the meaning differ depending on where in the world people use these words?

  • 1
    At the 'solid' used as an adverb thread, the use of what are apparently (formally) adjectives as what are apparently (syntactically) adverbs was examined. Here, the 'flat' (looking like the related adjective) version of 'blazingly' is a colloquial alternative for the -ly form modifier-of-adjective (a blazing/ly fast car) or -adverb (her car is travelling blazing/ly fast). Compare It's freezing cold / piping hot / fingerlickin' good. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 18 '15 at 21:05

In context, what is the difference between blazing fast and blazingly fast? Assuming (in the missing context) that "fast" is an adjective, then the difference is that "blazing fast" is much more informal, on a par with using "ain't", than "blazingly fast"; and is technically not grammatical (if you want to be sniffy about it). Slang and informal speech often use shortened versions of words, and in this case "blazingly" is sometimes shortened to "blazing" regardless of the confusion it can produce.

Out of context, "blazing fast" would have to refer to something which was burning rapidly.

  • Is there a difference in typical context? E.g. That car is blazing fast. And we will assume the car is not on fire... I saw you thinking it. :-) – RockPaperLizard Dec 18 '15 at 22:14
  • @RockPaperLizard You'd say it to the buddy watched NASCAR with you who brought the booze, but not to your very strict grammar-loving father. In other words, no. "Blazing" in general isn't a particularly formal word, so you probably wouldn't use it in a formal context. – Nic Hartley Dec 18 '15 at 23:34
  • 1
    @QPaysTaxes I think you got my father and my buddies mixed up. I need to find some new buddies. – RockPaperLizard Dec 19 '15 at 0:42

One obvious difference is the contrast between:

"The fire is blazing. It will soon devour the house." which is good English and

"The fire is blazingly." which is not good English.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.