confused about adjectives and adverbs like expensive,
dear, costly, dearly, etc. Can you please explain them to me?
/ dear / costly
adjectives are all synonyms though they are used in slightly
different ways and in different collocations. It is also the case
that dear as an adjective has two meanings, it means both
expensive and well-liked, as well as featuring in
expressions such as Oh dear! or in letters as in DearSir. The problem with costly may be that it looks
like an adverb as it ends in -ly. This is confusing as most
adverbsend in -ly, but costly is an exception
and is an adjective. Compare the following uses and collocations
in these examples:
was an expensive suit, but if you want to work for this
firm, you have to dress well.
are very nice. ~ They're a bit too dear / expensive, I'm
afraid. Haven't you got anything cheaper?
is a dear friend of mine. She is so kind and gentle in
everything she does.
dear! I've forgotten to bring my ID and I shan't be allowed
to take the IELTS test.
was a costly mistake and it meant I wouldn't have another
chance until the autumn.
Dearly can only be used as an adverb and normally collocates
with the verbs love / like and in this sense means a lot
or very much:
He's such a nice man. I love him dearly.
I would dearly like / love to be in your shoes and
to have the whole summer free to travel around Europe.
adjectives ending in -ly
are not very many, but other common adjectives apart from costly
ending in -ly include: friendly, lively, lovely, silly,
was a lively party and there were lots of very friendlypeople there.
was really quite ugly and unlikely to succeed
in the blind date competition.
formed by adding -ly
you no doubt know, most adverbs are formed by adding -ly
to the adjective:
is a slow and careful driver.
He drives slowly and carefully.
going to give a house a thorough clean.
I'm going to thoroughlyclean the house.
note that we cannot form adverbs in this way when the adjective
ends in -ly. We cannot say: friendlily or uglily
or sillily. We have to find some other way of modifying
the verb, e.g.:
greeted us in a very friendly / silly manner.
and adverb with the same form
of adverbs have the same form as adjectives. The most common include:
hard, fast, straight, early:
know he has a fast car, but he doesn't
need to drive so fast.
hard work, but if you work hard and really concentrate,
you'll finish it by bedtime.
caught the early bus to be sure of arriving early.
Aurelian Way is a very straight Roman road which
goes straight from Rome to Pisa.
with two forms
adverbs have two forms. Sometimes there is a difference in meaning.
Sometimes there is not very much difference. Compare the following:
haven't seen very much of you lately (lately = recently).
always seem to come home late from work.(late = arriving
after the expected time)
can jump really high on the trampoline.(high = vertical
she jumped right off it. It was highly amusing.
(highly = very)
can eat free in the restaurant where he works. (free =
can speak freely. Nobody can hear us. (freely = without
you please be waiting for me outside at nine o' clock
sharp? (sharp = punctually)
thought she spoke to him rather sharply. (sharply
= in a harsh tone)
talk so loud. Everybody in the room can hear you.
(loud = informal usage)
spoke loudly and convincingly about the advantages of leasing
rather than buying cars. (loudly = more formal usage)
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