Adverbs with two forms
Dead and Deadly
In certain expressions, the adverb dead is used to mean exactly, completely or very.
Examples are: dead certain, dead slow, dead right, dead drunk etc.
Deadly is an adjective. It means fatal, causing death. The adverb for this meaning is fatally.
- Cyanide is a deadly poison.
- She was fatally injured.
Fine and Finely
The adverb fine means well.
- ‘How are you?’ ‘I am fine.’
The adverb finely is used to talk about small careful adjustments and similar ideas.
- a finely tuned machine
Free and Freely
When used after a verb, the adverb free means without payment.
- Buy two shirts and get one free.
- Can I eat free in your restaurant?
Freely means without limit or restriction.
- Speak freely.
Hard and Hardly
The adverb hard means heavily, severely or with difficulty.
- You must work hard.
Hardly means almost not.
- I have hardly any money left.
Late and Lately
The adverb late has a similar meaning to the adjective late. Lately means a short time ago and recently.
- We will be late for dinner.
- It is getting late.
- I have not read anything lately.
Most and Mostly
- Those who have the most money are not always the happiest.
- What pleased me most was his helping nature.
- This is a most (=very) interesting book.
Mostly means chiefly, generally or in most cases.
- My friends are mostly non-smokers.
Real and Really
In informal American English, real is often used before adjectives and adverbs. It means the same as really.
- That was real nice. (=really nice)
- She sings real well. (=really well)
Sure and Surely
In an informal style, sure is often used to mean certainly. This is common in American English.
- ‘Can I borrow your bicycle?’ ‘Sure.’
Search the Dictionary of Practical English Usage
As, since, because and for
A lot of, lots of, plenty of, a great deal of
Below and under
Above and over
Both and both of
As if and as though
Fairly, quite, pretty and rather
Finally, at last, in the end and at the end
No and none
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