What is the function of the “-ly” suffix or termination?
The “-ly” suffix or termination is a common way to form adverbs in English. A quick way to determine an adverb is by looking for the “-ly” suffix. It is because the conjugation or formation of regular adverbs from their adjective base form is by adding the “-ly” suffix.
Here are a few examples of adjective-to-regular adverb conjugation:
However, not all words that end with “-ly” are adverbs. Some words ending with “-ly” are adjectives. Therefore, as adjectives, they function as describing words that modify nouns or pronouns.
List of Adjectives with “-ly” termination, Definition, and Example Sentences
It can get tricky determining whether a word with “-ly” termination is an adjective or adverb. It’s why we created a list to help you out. Through the list below, you can improve your vocabulary and differentiate adjectives from other adverbs.
|Adjectives With “-ly” Termination||Meaning / Definition||Example Sentences|
|costly||requiring a lot of money; expensive||It is costly to buy a new car, but it is worth the investment.|
|cowardly||someone who lacks courage||The cowardly dog hid under the bed when he heard a loud noise.|
|earthly||relating to life on earth||The earthly colors of the sunset were breathtaking.|
|friendly||kind and pleasant; showing goodwill||She was friendly and greeted everyone with a smile.|
|ghastly||causing fear; shocking||The ghastly ghost scared us out of our wits!|
|ghostly||looking or appearing like a ghost||The ghostly figure floated through the walls of the old castle.|
|goodly||sizeable amount or quantity||She received a goodly amount of money.|
|heavenly||holy or divine; angelic||Heavenly music filled the room as we danced.|
|homely||cozy and comfortable like a home||The homely cottage we rented was cozy and inviting.|
|kingly||relating to a king; high-ranking person; royal||The kingly crown was made of gold and jewels.|
|lively||outgoing; a place with exciting atmosphere||The lively party went on until the early hours of the morning.|
|lonely||someone who feels isolated, alone, or without companionship||The lonely man sat alone in the corner of the room.|
|lovely||having a pleasing appearance or qualities; attractive||The lovely flowers added a splash of color to the garden.|
|manly||referring to qualities of man||He was manly and brave when he faced his fears.|
|melancholy||a feeling of sadness||The melancholy mood in the room was palpable.|
|oily||something that contains oil||My sister cooked an oily meal, so I avoided eating it.|
|prickly||something that is spiky or has thorns||Roses are prickly, but they are one of the most beautiful things in the world.|
|saintly||relating to a saint; godly; holy||The saintly woman helped those in need without asking for anything in return.|
|shapely||something that has a pleasing, attractive shape||The model had a shapely figure that made her stand out on the runway.|
|sickly||someone with poor health; ill||The sickly patient was too weak to get out of bed.|
|timely||something that is done promptly or on time||We made a timely decision to purchase a parcel of land.|
|unsightly||not visually pleasing; similar to ugly||The unsightly stain on the carpet was hard to remove.|
|wobbly||something that is unsteady; shaky||The wobbly bridge swayed back and forth as we crossed it.|
|worldly||someone who has a great deal of knowledge and experience with the world||The worldly traveler had seen many places and experienced many cultures.|
Adjective With “-ly” Termination or Suffix Exercise with Answers
Choose the correct word in the box to complete the sentences below.
wobbly – oily – lovely – costly- friendly – lively – ugly – sickly – ghastly – prickly
1. The monster Victor Frankenstein created is a _____________ creature.
2. We need to replace this ____________ chair.
3. Cactus is an example of a ______________ plant.
4. ___________ food is often considered unhealthy.
5. I gave the server a tip because of his ____________ personality.
6. He made a ______________ mistake when he decided to invest in the volatile stock market.
7. Her ______________ voice was a balm to his troubled soul.
8. The ______________ child was in stark contrast to her healthy siblings.
9. The market was bustling with activity. It creates such a _____________ scene.
10. The old house was ____________ and dilapidated.
1. The monster Victor Frankenstein created is a ghastly creature.
2. We need to replace this wobbly chair.
3. Cactus is an example of a prickly plant.
4. Oily food is often considered unhealthy.
5. I gave the server a tip because of his friendly personality.
6. He made a costly mistake when he invested in the volatile stock market.
7. Her lovely voice was a balm to his troubled soul.
8. The sickly child was in stark contrast to her healthy siblings.
9. The market was bustling with activity. It creates such a lively scene.
10. The old house was ugly and dilapidated.
Adjective That Ends With “-ly” List
Here are more adjectives with the “-ly” ending that you must know to avoid mistaking them for adverbs:
|Adjectives That End In -ly|
Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners
Categorizing words following the English grammar parts of speech is a tricky task. As exemplified above, some words look like an adverb; but function as an adjective. It is essential to remember that adverbs usually modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs to avoid confusion. In contrast, adjectives modify nouns. As a learner, you must know how to identify the function of the word to be able to use them correctly. Below are common mistakes English learners commit and how mastering the function of words helps address those mistakes.
Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand Adjectives Usage, Coordinate Adjectives and Adjectives Definition and Examples.
Common Mistakes Made by English Learners
1. Using adjectives with “-ly” termination as adverbs.
Observe the sentences below:
(a) He speaks friendly. (Incorrect)
(b) He speaks in a friendly manner. (Correct)
In the first sentence, “friendly” is used incorrectly because it is an adjective; therefore, should be used to modify a noun or pronoun, not a verb.
As mentioned above, knowing the function of a word helps you identify an adjective from an adverb. By observing the first sentence, we can see that “friendly” (an adjective) is placed beside the word “speaks,” which is a verb.
Some adjectives ending with “-ly” can be converted into adverbs using this formula: in + a + [adjective] + way or manner. Hence, in the second sentence, “friendly” became an adverb of manner describing how “he” speaks.
Another example of an adjective that can be converted into an adverb using the formula above is “timely.”
(a) Jake submitted his project timely. (Incorrect)
(b) Jake submitted his project in a timely manner. (Correct)
2. Lovely is not an adverb
Most learners mistake “lovely” for an adverb. This misconception stems because the word ends with “-ly.” However, not all words with “-ly” termination are adjectives. “Lovely,” for example, is an adjective. Moreover, it does not have an adverb form.
Here are examples of a sentence using “lovely”:
1. The sunset was a lovely sight to behold.
2. Bea wore a lovely pearl bracelet to the party.
3. He gave her a lovely bouquet of flowers.
4. The children had a lovely time playing in the park.
5. She has such a lovely singing voice!
3. Using quality adjectives with “-ly” terminator as an adverb
Quality adjectives are adjectives that describe the quality of a person or thing. Examples of quality adjectives with a “-ly” terminator or suffix are: saintly, kingly, fatherly, motherly, brotherly, matronly, and sportsmanly. The common characteristic of the adverbs above is that they have nouns as root words. “Saintly” came from the noun “saint,” “brotherly” is derived from the noun “brother,” and so on.
Observe the sentences below:
(a) Peter treated me brotherly. (Incorrect)
(b) Peter treated me like a brother. (Correct)
(a) He saved my life saintly. (Incorrect)
(b) He saved my life like a saint. (Correct)
You can convert quality adjectives with “-ly” termination into adverbs as long as they have a noun root word. The formula for this is: like + a/an + root word of the adjective with “-ly” termination.
Learning Adjectives with “-ly” Termination Strategies and Best Practices
Learning adjectives with “-ly” termination can be a tricky task. However, there are strategies and best practices that can help you understand and use them correctly.
First, it is crucial to remember that adverbs usually modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. In contrast, adjectives modify nouns. Knowing the function of the word helps you identify an adjective from an adverb. When you know how to determine if the word to be modified or described are noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, or adjective, constructing sentences using adjectives with “-ly” termination will be easier.
Novels, short stories, and other literary works are great sources of adjectives. Reading them can help you understand how these words are used in context. Through reading, you can widen your vocabulary and exercise your writing skills.
Finally, practice makes perfect. You can practice using adjectives with “-ly” termination by writing sentences or short stories. It will help you understand how to use them correctly and effectively.
Adjectives with “-ly” Termination Frequently Asked Questions
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