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Recently, I have attempted a multiple choice question test that contained the following question regarding synonym of "quickly:"

image of question paper

Q. No. 15 (in image) He quickly got up from the bench. [Section: synonyms]

a) soon b) fastly c) fast d) shortly

The official key of this question considers "C. Fast" as its correct synonym as well as a perfect placement of the adverb after the subject.

However, I think that quickly can also be replaced by fastly. Even, despite of the fact that "fastly" for some (not all) dictionaries is an old-fashioned as well as an obsolete word. To the contrary it seems fine just after subject, as in:

He fastly got up from the bench.

It looks vague to me if I say "he fast got up from the bench"

Since, there is a pattern of using adverbs such as those that end in "ly." Such as "he quickly went home." Seems fine as compared to fast.

I am talking about the placement of the adverb "fast" just after the subject. That subject is "He." Such as: "he fast got up from the bench." Is it okay to use "fast" after the subject? Is there any example sentence given in any source that shows "fast" after any subject?

**Questions already asked in English Stack Exchange are Is "fastly" a correct word? and Why is "fastly" not a word?

In those questions, none of their answers gives an example that show fast after the subject. Such as he fast [verb and onwards]....

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    Fastly is not a valid word. It was presumably put in the multiple-choice question to test your knowledge of that fact. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 8:46
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    Interesting. The distributions of the synonyms 'fast' [adv] and 'quickly' are certainly far from identical: 'He runs quickly' = 'He runs fast'. BUT ?'Have you mentioned it to Tom yet?’ ‘Just quickly.’ ('fast' n/a here) / And they sometimes carry different subsenses: 'Just talk with him quickly' ≠ 'Just talk fast with him.' Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 12:51
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    We need to see the question as presented, Ahmed. But as for using 'He fast got up from the bench', I'd say the scarcity of hits in a Google search for "he fast got up" correctly mirrors its idiomaticity. "He got up fast" (again, Google) seems 100 000 times as common. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 19:26
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    The answer is A-soon no matter what the key says. Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 23:59
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    @YosefBaskin It is deeply frustrating when students bring to us test questions whose provided answers are as wrong as this one's is. It is frustrating to them because they are forced to give answers that we know to be wrong, and it is frustrating to us as we struggle to provide useful and correct solutions when we know these will be marked "wrong" by the student's misguided instructor, who knows no better.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 1:09

2 Answers 2

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The trouble with multiple choice questions with right/wrong answers, is that the questions themselves can be fallible, as, I think, in this case.

First, there is no such adverb as fastly (in the sense of rapidly).

Second, the placement of the adverb quickly is important. In its location before the verb it means something like immediately or promptly, referring to the time it took to start getting up. It might follow something like

Seeing the teacher come back into the class, he quickly got up from his desk."

If, on the other hand, the adverb quickly were at the end of the sentence, as "He got up from his desk quickly", the adverb would be describing the manner in which he got up (the interval of time that elapsed from the starting to get up to completing the movement.

But here's the thing. American English does include an adverbial usage of the word 'fast', meaning either rapidly or immediately. So C) is the right answer, provided it comes as the end of the sentence.

He got up from the bench fast

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He quickly got up from the bench.

a) soon b) fastly c) fast d) shortly

The official key of this question considers "C. Fast" as its correct synonym as well as a perfect placement of the adverb after the subject.

I am aware that nobody here has seen the question paper or key, or heard any oral explanation that might have accompanied the test.

Fastly, does appear, in this sense, in the OED with the comment

This word belongs in Frequency Band 3. Band 3 contains words which occur between 0.01 and 0.1 times per million words in typical modern English usage. These words are not commonly found in general text types like novels and newspapers, but at the same they are not overly opaque or obscure.

The relevant definition is

  1. At a fast speed; quickly, rapidly. Formerly also: †readily (obsolete). Cf. fast adv. 7a, 8. Originally probably a specific development of sense 1c.

c1275 (▸?a1200) Laȝamon Brut (Calig.) (1978) l. 13863 Forð heo gunnen fusen..& fastliche heom to buȝen.

The word appears continuously thereafter in examples from most centuries...

1859 K. Cornwallis Panorama New World I. 207 The life of the child was fastly on the wane.

1931 S. Benson Tobit Transplanted ii. 26 Making bets with all his friends that he could drink more beer more fastly than they could drink.

?2016 @BangaliBaba_ 22 Jan. in twitter.com (accessed 17 Nov. 2020) This is the best cable network in India and growing fastly!!

The last example I would credit to Indian English but was not surprised to see it as in the 1931 quote.

Is the position correct? I cannot see why not. The word itself is uncommon; nobody would say it, but it is correct.

I would also suggest that if the test was in Indian English, then there is probably more likelihood of it appearing, in that position, in conversation or writing.

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    Clearly you can hardly call it correct if nobody would ever say it.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 28, 2023 at 21:51
  • #Greybeard now I have uploaded image of question paper in description.
    – Ahmed
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 0:50
  • @tchrist - Well, there's me and there's Chomsky saying "Yes it's correct," There are a million unsaid sentences that are correct. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colorless_green_ideas_sleep_furiously
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:47
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    @Ahmed Thanks. I see question 14 has errors. The test is useless.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 17:51

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