Is it proper to use this instance of two consecutive adverbs separated by a comma?

e.g. "He seriously, actually has this problem."

I have seen some consecutive adverbs be okay, but others not. Thank you in advance!


1 Answer 1


Sure. The comma stands in for an elided conjunction. From The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes:

Again she glanced at him quickly, furtively, but he seemed just as usual

Your example is a little odd because while people have serious problems, we usually don't say that they have them seriously, i.e., in a serious way. The sentence also has an echo of an introductory adverb --

Seriously, he actually has this problem

which means, "I'm serious about his having this problem."

  • 1
    This is a strange one. Seriously here is certainly the pragmatic usage (an emphasiser by the speaker, as you say) but the sentence sounds odd for a second reason: actually here at least strongly connotes an(other) emphasiser reading. A bare 'He actually has this problem' can have two readings: 'Believe it or not, he has this problem' or the corrective 'This is the problem he actually has [though you / others / many think he has problem Y, Z...). Your example is far less awkward: two proper adverbs. Commented Aug 27, 2016 at 10:15
  • Please consider both the cliched question “Do you really, truly love me?” and the obvious answer “Truly, madly, deeply…” Is there any problem with either example, other than that even the first two, let alone five synonymous adverbs seems unimaginative? Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 18:36
  • 1
    I've considered it, and I'm afraid I don't. Sorry.
    – deadrat
    Commented Sep 4, 2016 at 18:57

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