Top-10 of English Adverbs with two forms

Are you working hard or hardly working? The words "hard" and "hardly" are adverbs (answering the question how? in what manner?), And it seems that they are so similar, but at the same time have completely different meanings. Words like these usually confuse us, unfortunate non-native speakers, and do not allow us to correctly understand the meaning of this or that sentence. Therefore, today we will consider the TOP-10 of such adverbs and understand the difference between their meanings. Let’s make it clear!

In some cases, the meanings of words are interrelated, which is a definite bonus for us when memorizing, for example:

1. High-highly

During our last trip we were flying high above the ground on the helicopter. 

 Your students must be highly motivated to study when you tell them such nice stories about your trips.

  • to fly high – meaning literally in the shy;
  • to be highly motivated – to have a strong desire/motivation;

2. tight-tightly

After our visit to the market, we packed our things tight. 

It was a good idea, but I felt terrible cause we were tightly packed in the excursion bus. 

  • To pack tight – to pack things in a compact travel-size manner;
  • To be tightly packed – to sit very close to each other;

But in most cases, such adverbs have opposite or unrelated meanings, for example:

3. Hard-hardly

I really worked hard to get enough money. However, I hardly got any work done with all the noise. 

  • To work hard- to work actively, not to be lazy;
  • Hardly get a work – almost no work at all;

4. Right-rightly

Your sister came right after the breakfast. – I rightly guessed that she wouldn’t appear till 10 o’clock.

  • Right after- immediately (after);
  • Guess rightly- correctly;

5. wrong-wrongly

2020 started well but then it all went wrong. I was going on a trip, but I was wrongly informed about my flight – it was cancelled!

  • wrong- not the way it was planned;
  • wrongly- with some mistakes;

6. Late-lately

 I hate it when people arrive late to the meeting. – Me too. What have you been doing lately?

  • Late – speaking about time (late at night);
  • lately- over some recent period of time;

7. fine – finely

You’re doing really fine on your job! – This project is so hard so I need to finely detail the contract with our new foreign partners. 

  • Fine- good, nice;
  • Finely- in details;

8. Sure-surely

Will you join the online-conference tomorrow? – Sure, and you? – Me too. But I won’t join the chat. The last time our colleague sent a lot of weird jokes there. Surely it was a bad idea.

  • sure – the way of agreeing;
  • surely – obviously;

9. Most- mostly

During the conference I was thinking, what I liked most about my job. I miss my work in Japan, cause I mostly talked to successful businessmen.

  • most – in the highest manner;
  • mostly – usually;

10. wide-widely

Your clothes are getting wide! – That’s because I’m on my new diet. I want to lose another kilo to look perfect at the beach. Our last trip was amazing. I am lucky enough to have widely travelled throughout Asia some years ago. 

  • wide – not narrow;
  • widely – importantly;

We wish you good luck in studying adverbs – boost your English every day!

Author: Yana Kozyr

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