I'd like to apply the -ly suffix to shell but I'm not sure how many L it should have? Three like shellly or two like shelly?

Is there a rule that can be used with other suffixes too if the suffix makes the last letter to occur threefold?

Background: It should be a project name derived from shell as a user interface.

  • 3
    Use a different variant -- shellish or shell-like, for instance. – John Lawler Dec 11 '16 at 20:34
  • 2
    The rule is, no three successive L's unbroken in a word. It's not just a good idea, it's the law. – Robusto Dec 11 '16 at 21:24
  • 1
    If it's not this, people then it's been done: npmjs.com/package/shelly – jimm101 Dec 11 '16 at 22:12
  • 1
    @t3chb0t How about leaving out the hyphen? Shelllike! – The Vee Dec 11 '16 at 23:57
  • 1
    Here's a more thorough explanation of the English words with a letter repeated three times in a row: english.stackexchange.com/a/15788/10044 (in short: no "real" words) – RJHunter Dec 12 '16 at 7:09

As a productive suffix, -ly is added only to adjectives. (There are a few existing adjectives in -ly, such as untimely, but it is not productive). So unless you have coined a new adjective shell ("That's very shell!") such a coinage is unlikely to be understood.

Having said that, adjectives in -ll do form adverbs in -lly: eg dull, dully. But I think most people seeing shelly would assume it was shell + -y, i.e. "shell-like", or "full of shells", "made of shell".

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    And I wonder if OP actually seeks an adjective, so shell-y will do just fine. I also like shellic, but only because it sounds like shellac. – Unrelated Dec 11 '16 at 20:48
  • 1
    Or characterized by shells. Small shelly fauna is a term of art in paleontology. – deadrat Dec 11 '16 at 20:49
  • @StoneyB: no, I don't. I mean "added only to adjectives to form adverbs". – Colin Fine Dec 11 '16 at 20:53
  • @Unrelated the meaning I seek is shell-like so if most people would think of it like this then it works for me. Of course in this specific context - this is, user interface. – mr-nobody Dec 11 '16 at 20:54
  • 4
    The suffix being added to "shell" is "-y", not "-ly". That is a common way to form adjectives from nouns, e.g. hairy, milky, spicy, etc. – alephzero Dec 12 '16 at 0:55

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.