Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another quirk of English...

You all may have noticed - from the resounding silence - that I'm having a very exhausting week. We had a wedding last weekend, and a Sharks game. I could comment on the blog about each of those, and I'm planning to, in fact, but collectively they meant starting the week already exhausted. Then complications ensued, including a top-to-bottom autumn cleaning in honor of houseguests!

I'm hoping to get back with the program as we head into next week, but today I found a little funny pattern in English that I thought I'd share, and see if we can collectively expand upon. In general, the rule we learn is that when you take an adjective and add "ly", you end up with an adverb.

slow (Adj) + ly = slowly (Adv)
interesting (Adj) + ly = interestingly (Adv)
quick (Adj) + ly = quickly (Adv)

However, I noticed one case today where adding "ly" to an adjective doesn't actually change the part of speech.

low (Adj) + ly = lowly (Adj)

And then there are these two words, both nouns, to which you can add "ly" and get an adjective.

dastard (N, I think) + ly = dastardly (Adj)
coward (N) + ly = cowardly (Adj)

Have any of you noticed any more of these? I admit I'm guessing that Mike Flynn will jump in and illuminate all (he often does). I'm going to be looking in my etymological dictionary over the next day or so and see what I can come up with.

I think this must be one of those notorious "exceptions" for which English is so famous, and which makes it a thorny language to learn.

1 comment:

  1. Thorny. That's putting it mild(ly).

    English is like my mother's famous Pasta Fazoo she used to make when I was a kid. It consisted of pretty much anything in the cupboards we happened to have that day, plus pasta. In other words, we have a language that has taken a little of this and a little of that from all the language cupboards of the world, mixed it all together and voila! Let's eat!

    I'm glad English is my first language, or I probably would have never been able to master it.