Submitted by sunghee on May 6, 2009

Friendly - adjective and adverb?

I thought ‘friendly’ was an adjective, but some dictionary published in Korea says it can be used as an adverb, and another dictionary says it was used as an adverb before the 16th century. Is ‘friendly’ still used as an adverb or is it used only as an adjective?

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I am not a native speaker.
So, don't trust me. ;)

Friendly can be used as adverb, but not often. It's synonym is "amicably" in this case.
E.g. The natives used us friendly. (ABBYY Lingvo Dictionary)

Now "in a friendly way" is used instead of friendly (adv.)

Good luck!

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Does the ABBYY Lingvo Dictionary date its examples?

The most recent example in the OED of "friendly" used as an adverb is from 1869. It also has "The natives used us friendly and with kindness," but that is from 1807.

I cannot think of a decent example of how one might use "friendly" as an adverb in <em>modern English</em>. I believe it is an obsolete usage. To a modern English speaker it will sound wrong, or at the least very archaic.

As you say, "amicably" is a perfectly good adverb with essentially the same meaning, or youcan say "in a friendly way." Either of those are good, modern English.

ABBYY appears to be based in Moscow.

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I have often thought we needed the word friendlily for in a friendly manner. Oh well....

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I just looked up if friendly could ever be used as an adverb because I was observing a teacher who said it could be. I know of no such usage in modern English. Interestingly enough, Webster's actually listed the adverb, "friendlily." I have never heard of that word in my life. I guess it is legal, but it is not normal.

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Most dictionaries I have consulted list 'friendly' as a noun, an adjective, and an adverb. It is not listed as a noun in my older Merriam-Webster. The noun usage I suspect is most recent, as in: "The explorers encountered a friendly, whom they engaged as their guide." It has the distinct ring of slang, and old slang at that. It is rarely heard anymore outside of bad movie dialog.

It is even more uncommon to find 'friendly' used as an adverb. A sentence like "They treated her friendly" sounds odd, even colloquial. It is not incorrect, but it will catch the reader's or listener's attention, and needs to be explained by, or supported by, its context. Such usage should be reserved for written dialog or for the spoken word.

Nor would I advise "amicably" as a substitute adverb. To say "The diplomatic meeting ended amicably" may be taken to mean a lack of dispute, rather than any feeling of warmth between the participants. Stick to 'friendly' as an adjective, as in "friendly advice."

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in my opinion friendly is an adjectif but what is the adverb from this adjectif

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adjectif + ly =an adverb so friendly is an adverb so friend+ly=adverb and friend is a noun so friendly it can't be an adverb but it is also a noun

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While it is common to form adverbs by adding "-ly" to adjectives, there are plenty of adjectives that end in "-ly", usually by adding it to nouns: lovely, shapely, orderly, homely, etc. There are also examples of other words that function as both, especially adverbs of frequency. Hourly can be used as both an adverb and an adjective. So can daily,weekly, monthly, etc.

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It sounds a little stupid to me and other native speakers, because we know "friendly" foremost as an adjective. However, no other adverb form of the word exists, and it is accepted as an adverb as standard English, although I don't like it. Signs all over Texas say "Drive Friendly".

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I found "friendlily" is also accepted as standard.

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i saw it

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I think, regardless of whether it is "right" or "wrong," the word "friendly" used as an adverb is awkward and "friendlily" can't even stand up for drunkenness. Therefore recast the sentence to avoid the issue.

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Hi there,
I think the word friendly is so confusing and controversial.for example in Webster dictionary it's mentioned as adj and adv both but in other dictionaries it's just adj
Morover comparative form of friendly is so mysterious in some books it's friendlier and in another it's more friendly.
In my viewpoint, although in most dictionaries this word is just an adj, it can be used as an adv in spoken english

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I have to agree with the majority of native speakers on this thread, 'friendlily', even though listed by Oxford and Merriam-Webster, sounds awkward, and I have no problems with 'in friendly way', 'in a friendly manner' or 'in a friendly fashion' - http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=fr...

As porsche has already mentioned, 'friendly' is by no means unique in this regard; there are quite a lot of adjectives ending in -ly that don't normally take an extra -ily. Here's one list of 37 of them - http://www.prepoceros.com/2005/10/13/testing/

Here are a few more to add to porsche's list:

bubbly, curmudgeonly, prickly, comely, manly, deadly , silly, chilly

Even though sillily and chillily do seem to exist (although being red-lined by Firefox) , I personally would never use them and would stick to the 'in a ~ way / manner' formula, and that's certainly what we teach our EFL students.

As for comparative and superlative, all the dictionaries I've checked (including Merriam-Webster, Oxford, American Heritage, Longman) list - 'friendlier, friendliest', none saying anything about 'more friendly'. This is only to be expected, as that is following the standard rule for two syllable adjectives ending in -y.

But it's certainly true that 'more friendly' is also used, and especially in the past - http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=fr...


In fact there are quite a lot of two-syllable adjectives where we have a choice:

clever, common, cruel, gentle, likely, narrow, pleasant, polite

We usually recommend students to take the 'more, most' route here (which seems to be becoming more common / commoner, but I would certainly use crueler, gentler, narrower.

As a native speaker, I must say that what you see as confusion I see as choice. Which is especially useful for creative writers: sometimes 'pleasanter' will fit better, sometimes 'more pleasant'. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life.

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