Ask the Editor
Serenity Carr, Assistant Editor
Adding -LY to Adjectives
Friday November 20th 2020
Why does "excessively" have only one L while "physically" has two Ls? — Priya, India

Adding -ly to an adjective makes an adverb. Excessively has one L because the base word is excessive and -ly is added to the end. Physically has two Ls because the base word is physical which ends with an L and then -ly is added.


When an adjective ends in a consonant, you can just add -ly to make it an adverb. If the consonant it ends in is L then you end up with a double L. Below are more examples:

masterful --> masterfully

expert --> expertly

practical --> practically

beneficial --> beneficially

clever --> cleverly

disastrous --> disastrously

official --> officially  

cruel --> cruelly

usual --> usually


If a word ends in -ble then the -e is dropped before adding -ly:

profitable --> profitably

acceptable --> acceptably

agreeable --> agreeably

audible --> audibly

forcible à forcibly



If a word ends in -y and has more than one syllable then the -y changes to -i before adding -ly:

happy --> happily

bouncy --> bouncily

sturdy --> sturdily

easy --> easily


If a word ends in -y and has only one syllable then just add -ly:  

shy --> shyly

coy --> coyly


I hope this helps.


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