Words Ending in “-ly” Aren’t Always Adverbs

Ask anyone to name a distinguishing characteristic of an adverb, and the reply might be that such a word ends with -ly. Although that is often true, some adverbs, such as fast, lack the ending. For this reason, they are known as flat adverbs. In addition, many words ending in -ly aren’t adverbs.

Many adjectives end in -ly (which means—and is cognate with—“like”), including some that are also adjectives in their “flat” form. For example, dead and deadly are both adjectives. Deadly may look like an adverb, but one cannot say that one person stared deadly at another person; a correct treatment would be to employ deadly as an adjective and use the noun form of stared: “He gave her a deadly stare.” A more prominent error is to use timely as if it were an adverb, as in “She was instructed to complete the report timely.” But it is an adjective, and should be treated as such, as in “She was instructed to complete the report in a timely manner.”

Some words ending in -ly serve as both adjectives and adverbs, such as friendlylikely, and stately. (Other adjectives that look like adverbs but serve only the former function include costly and worldly.) Others, which do not have root words, include earlyand ugly (both adjectives and adverbs) and burly and grisly (which are only adjectives). Occasionally, an adjective ending in -ly can be converted into an adverb by changing the ending to -lily, but words like friendlily and uglily are rare in writing and almost unheard of in speech.

Many adjectives are merely nouns referring to people and with -ly attached, as in the case of brotherlyneighborly, and scholarly, or pertaining to time (for example, monthly) or direction (for example, northerly). Note that many other nouns also end in -ly, such as assembly (based on the verb assemble) and bully (where the ending is a result of the pronunciation of the source word from another language), and some verbs do, too, such as complyand reply.

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Confusion of a Thing and Its Name

Revise each of the following sentences so that the name of the thing, not the thing itself, is defined.

1. He coined the term “the Silk Road,” a network of Eurasian roads and trade routes.

2. Polygyny translates to “having many wives.”

3. We were introduced to the precocious child Prof, short for “Professor.”

4. Karaoke, which means “empty orchestra,” is singing along to a recording of a song in which the original vocals have been deleted.

5. A resume, or a CV (which means “curriculum vitae”), basically a more detailed resume, is the most important document in your job search.

Answers and Explanations

1.
Original: He coined the term “the Silk Road,” a network of Eurasian roads and trade routes.
Correct : He coined the term “the Silk Road” to refer to a network of Eurasian roads and trade routes.

The term “the Silk Road” is a not a network of Eurasian roads and trade routes; it is the name for such a network.

2.
Original: Polygyny translates to “having many wives.”
Correct : “Polygyny” translates to “having many wives.”

The word polygyny is used to describe a concept. However, the concept is not translated to “having many wives”; the word for it is so translated. (The correction encloses the word in quotation marks because the tool for constructing these exercises does not allow italics for the sample sentences; the word should be italicized rather than set in quotation marks.)

3.
Original: We were introduced to the precocious child Prof, short for “Professor.”
Correct : We were introduced to the precocious child Prof, whose nickname is short for “Professor.”

The child is not an abbreviation of Professor; his or her name is. Here, too, Professor should be italicized rather than framed in quotation marks.

4.
Original: Karaoke, which means “empty orchestra,” is singing along to a recording of a song in which the original vocals have been deleted.
Correct : Karaoke (the name means “empty orchestra”) is singing along to a recording of a song in which the original vocals have been deleted.
Alterna.: Karaoke — the word is Japanese for “empty orchestra” — is singing along to a recording of a song in which the original vocals have been deleted.

The name for karaoke, not the activity itself, means “empty orchestra.”

5.
Original: A resume, or a CV (which means “curriculum vitae”), basically a more detailed resume, is the most important document in your job search.
Correct : A resume, or a CV (the initials stand for “curriculum vitae”), basically a more detailed resume, is the most important document in your job search.

The initials for the document, not the document itself, represent the term “curriculum vitae.”

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How Long Is A Novel?

Before the advent of ebooks, modern fiction writers concerned themselves chiefly with two lengths: long (novels) and short (short stories).

With the advent of digital publishing, the termsnovella and novelette have taken on a new significance.

In the 17th century, the word novel referred to a book-length story shorter than a romance. Indeed, the English word novel derives from an Italian word for a short story: novella, a term Boccaccio used in reference to the short stories collected in the Decameron. At first, novel andnovella were used interchangeably in English to describe a short fictitious narrative. Nowadays, anovel is longer than a novella:

novel noun: an invented prose narrative of considerable length and a certain complexity that deals imaginatively with human experience through a connected sequence of events involving a group of persons in a specific setting.


How long is “considerable length”?

On average, a printed novel contains about 80,000 words. For some genres, like mystery, the minimum may go as low as 40,000 in the guidelines for some contests, but 60,000 is probably a more marketable length.

In the old days, writers estimated word count by figuring 250 words per page. According to this way of calculating, a 70,000-word book corresponds to about 175 printed pages; one with 125,000 words, 312 pages. Now, word processors keep a running total for the writer.

NOTE: A printed paperback may have as many as 400 words per page, depending upon font size and book dimensions.

Length matters in a book that has a spine to which pages must be attached. Print publishers rarely accept books that are excessively short or excessively long. Digital publishing, on the other hand, is not constrained by size.

Although popular wisdom suggests that people who read ebooks prefer them short, Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, analyzed a thousand of his best-selling books “across all genres and categories” and discovered that the top fifty sellers published via Smashwords average 106,000 words in length.

Some readers love long novels; others don’t. Novelists who publish digitally can help readers find what they are looking for by categorizing their works according to length:

novel: 60,000 words and above
novella: 20,000 to 50,000 words
novelette: 7,500 to 20,000 words


Here are five recent fiction titles and the number of pages they have in paperback:

Sycamore Row, John Grisham (642 pages)
The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd paperback (384 pages)
Concealed in Death, Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb (384 pages)
Reviva,l Stephen King (416 pages)
The Burning Room, Michael Connelly (400 pages)

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/how-long-is-a-novel/