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What are the differences between 'fast', 'quick' and 'quickly'?

Episode 191112 / 12 Nov 2019

This week's question

What are the differences between 'fast', 'quick' and 'quickly'? - Ruben on YouTube

Answer this

Is 'fastly' the correct adverb from the adjective 'fast'?

Language points

Fast and quick - the similarities

Fast and quick are both adjectives and both mean 'moving or happening at speed'. You can often use either and the meaning is the same.

  • This car is very fast. This car is very quick.
  • The punch was so fast, the boxer didn't see it. The punch was so quick, the boxer didn't see it.

As adverbs

Fast and quickly are adverbs of manner – notice 'fast' not 'fastly'. Again, they mean moving or happening at speed. In many cases you can exchange them.

  • The lightning struck fast. The lightning struck quickly.
  • He punched me so fast, I didn't see it! He punched me so quickly, I didn't see it!

The differences

Quick can mean 'happening over a short time' or 'finishing quickly'.

  • Let's have a quick meeting. Can I have a quick word?
  • After only a quick glance, her quick thinking came up with a solution.

Quick can also mean 'intelligent' or 'understanding quickly'.

  • He's very quick. Show him something once and he's got it.

Fast can be a noun meaning 'a period of not eating'. It can also refer to something that is ahead of time, such as a watch.

  • Is it time to stop fasting? I'm not sure because my watch is fast.

Collocations and fixed phrases

  • In quick succession means coming speedily one after another.
  • Cut someone to the quick means hurt their feelings greatly.
  • Play fast and loose with somebody or something means treat something / someone without care.
  • Hold fast means remain firmly where you are or keep the same opinion.

The answer

No, we do not use 'fastly'. 'Fast' is both an adjective and an adverb.

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