She smiled shyly.

She shyly smiled.

which sentence is right?

if the position of Adverb is not important, is it acceptable to write "Fast he runs" like this, then?

it sounds weird, but it might be because I'm not a good English speaker.

  • You can say "she smiled shyly", and you can say "she shyly smiled", and you can say "shyly, she smiled". The rule is simple: you can write "fast he runs" if you are Cormac McCarthy, but you should never, ever write "fast he runs" if you are not a good English speaker.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


Both of the first sentences are fine. Don't say "Fast he runs".

That's not even equivalent to the first two sentences anyway: the equivalent variants of your second sentence would be "He quickly runs" or "He runs quickly". ("He runs fast" is basically ungrammatical)

EDIT - to explain a bit more about "fast" vs "quickly":

"fast" is an adjective describing time, eg "He set a fast time in that race" or other nouns, eg "Wow, you were fast". ("You" is the thing being described here, and is a noun)

"quickly" is an adverb, ie an adjective describing a verb.

In "He runs quickly/fast", we're describing how the person "runs", which is a verb. Therefore, we need to pick the adverb rather than the adjective.

You will see people use "fast" as an adverb too, it's fairly common, but strictly speaking this is a colloquialism and not formally correct.

  • then what is the difference between "quickly" and "fast"?
    – choi
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 8:14
  • Added an EDIT about this point. Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 8:32
  • 1
    I found the case regarding "fast" as an adverb in a dictionary. here's the link. And the meaning would be slightly different. For example, the phrase "He spoke fast," would usually mean he is speaking with high speed, whereas "He spoke quickly", would usually mean "He spoke right away". oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/fast_2
    – choi
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 9:26
  • Good find @choi - it appears that "fast" is becoming an adverb as well as an adjective, according to many dictionaries. It's possible that the "fast/quickly" distinction is now overly formal or perhaps just outdated. "He runs quickly" still sounds better to my ears than "He runs fast", which sounds somewhat childlike. BTW, I would take "He spoke quickly" to mean "speaking with high speed" rather than "right away". Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 9:31
  • 1
    Fast is an adverb alright. Fast is not "becoming an adverb". Fast has been an adverb for hundreds of years since Middle English. We have several questions about that. In fact we have not one but two questions specifically on running fast. Please stay on-topic (I am addressing choi as well here). Otherwise you'll only get into the kind of trouble you've now gotten yourself into. I now have to go with a downvote on an okay answer because it lies about something unrelated.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 12:27

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