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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.

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    Use a different variant -- shellish or shell-like, for instance. – John Lawler Dec 11 '16 at 20:34
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    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
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    If it's not this, people then it's been done: npmjs.com/package/shelly – jimm101 Dec 11 '16 at 22:12
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    @t3chb0t How about leaving out the hyphen? Shelllike! – The Vee Dec 11 '16 at 23:57
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    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
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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".

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    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
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    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. – t3chb0t Dec 11 '16 at 20:54
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    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

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