How to Use Quick and Quickly

How to Use Quick and Quickly

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“Answer that question, quick!”

“Answer that question quickly!”

Which one of the above is your pick?

It might seem like an easy question to ask, quick and quickly. The answer though, may not be easy to explain. Don’t you feel that anything that goes with quick, also goes well with quickly? Does that mean that quick and quickly have the same meaning? Really???

So for the month of October, we have a question from Siti to be tagged under #AllYouGottaDoIsAsk – her question about quick and quickly, as follows:

Hi Baini,

I have a question that I had kept a secret since I was 12.

I was given a big X on my sentence: He arrived very quick.

My teacher corrected with a note ‘very quickly’. I didn’t dare ask my teacher why ‘very quick’ is wrong but ‘very quickly’ is right. Could you help me understand this so I can have more confidence to speak in English?

Thank you.

Thank you Siti for your question. And thank you for allowing yourself to be liberated from such haunting! One might not realise how an unresolved question could lead to years of holding back.

First and foremost, we must know the existence of adverbs which work almost like adjectives, but adverbs are used to describe verbs. In Bahasa Melayu, our adverb equivalent word class is kelas kata keterangan. Let’s check out the examples below for better understanding.

EXAMPLE 1. The poem is beautiful, it is beautifully written.

In the example above, two descriptive words are used which are beautiful and beautifully. Do note that beautiful is an adjective, while beautifully is an adverb.

If the sentence is translated to Bahasa Melayu, it would take the meaning of, “Puisi itu indah, puisi itu ditulis dengan indah sekali.” Note that in this translation, beautiful is translated as indah and beautifully as indah sekali.

Besides the translation above, it is also essential to be aware that the adjective (beautiful) is used to describe a noun (poem), while the adverb (beautifully) is used to describe a verb (written). Just as importantly is to be aware that the kata adjektif (indah) is used to describe kata nama (puisi), while kata keterangan (indah sekali/indahnya) is used to describe kata kerja (ditulis).

EXAMPLE 2. He was happy when she arrived at the party. They happily chatted for hours.

In the example above, two descriptive words are used which are happy and happily. Note that happy is an adjective and happily is an adverb.

If the sentence above is translated to Bahasa Melayu, it would take the meaning of, “Dia gembira apabila wanita itu tiba. Mereka berbual dengan gembiranya selama berjam-jam.” Note that in this translation, happy is translated as gembira and happily is translated as dengan gembiranya.

Apart from the translation above, it is also essential to be aware that the adjective (happy) is used to describe a noun (he), while the adverb (happily) is used to describe a verb (chatted). In the same breath, it is important to be aware that the kata adjektif (gembira) is used to describe kata nama (dia), while kata keterangan (dengan gembiranya/gembiranya) is used to describe kata kerja (berbual).

EXAMPLE 3. She paced the living room in eager anticipation for the postman. She eagerly ripped the parcel with her teeth when it finally arrived.

In the example above, two descriptive words are used which are eager and eagerly. Note that eager is an adjective and eagerly is an adverb.

If the sentence above is translated to Bahasa Melayu, it would take the meaning of, “Dia mundar-mandir tidak sabar akan ketibaan posmen. Dia tidak sabar-sabar lalu mengoyak bungkusan itu dengan giginya.” Note that in this translation, eager is translated as tidak sabar and eagerly is translated as tidak sabar-sabar.

Apart from the translation above, it is also essential to notice that the adjective (eager) is used to describe a noun (anticipation), while the adverb (eagerly) is used to describe a verb (ripped). At the same time, it should be noticed that the kata adjektif (tidak sabar) is used to describe kata nama (ketibaan), while kata keterangan (tidak sabar-sabar) is used to describe kata kerja (mengoyak).

EXAMPLE 4. He was quick and left just as quickly.

In the example above, two descriptive words are used which are quick and quickly. Note that quick is an adjective and quickly is an adverb.

If the sentence above is translated to Bahasa Melayu, it would take the meaning of,”Dia pantas dan berlalu pergi sepantas itu juga.” Note that in this translation, quick is translated as pantas and quickly is translated as sepantas.

Besides the translation above, it is also important to realise that the adjective (quick) is used to describe a noun (he), while the adverb (quickly) is used to describe a verb (left). In the same vein, it is important to notice that the kata adjektif (pantas) is used to describe kata nama (dia), while kata keterangan (sepantas) is used to describe kata kerja (berlalu).

Aided by the explanation above, can you decide which to use: Answer that question, quick! or Answer that question quickly!

Now we know it depends on whether you are describing a noun or a verb! So in order to answers Siti’s question:

He arrived very quick.

It should be ‘He arrived very quickly’ as we want to describe the verb ‘arrive’.

I hope that restores Siti’s confidence to speak in English. Wouldn’t the awareness that you’re describing a verb with an adverb make you self-assured when you present your facts? I hope today’s lesson helps you convey your knowledge, your ideas and your message effectively to your global audience. Because all the thoughts in your head, is only as good when they’re outside your head for the world to know!

Now, I would like to know from you – is there any big X on your English Language exercise book that still haunt you? I am all ready to bust your big X here, just drop me a line by leaving a comment below or by replying to my email if you subscribe to The Baini Mustafa Email. If you would like to be a subscriber to receive weekly updates from me on English Language tips, book recommendations and some freebies I just don’t share anywhere else, you may subscribe here.

Until then, stay safe and maybe pick up a book while waiting for the rainstorm to subside before continuing with your commute in the evenings.

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