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14.8: Some Changes with -ly

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Some Changes with -ly

1. Usually when the suffix -ly is added to a stem, it just adds on, by simple addition, with no changes. You only need remember that when the stem ends with an <l>, since -ly begins with an <l>, there will be an <ll> in the new word: careful + ly = carefully, illegal + ly = illegally, cruel + ly = cruelly.

2. But there are two cases in which changes do occur when -ly is added to stems.

First, if the stem ends in the letter <c> - especially if it ends in the suffix -ic- and if we were to add the stem and suffix through simple addition, we would get a misspelling, as in: basic + ly = *basicly. What we have to do is insert the suffix -al between the stem and the -ly: basic + ly = basic + al + ly = basically. We insert this -al even if we do not have a word that ends in -al, such as *basical.

3. Analyze the following adverbs, to show this insertion, as we've done with the first one:

Adverb = Stem ending in <c> + -al + -ly
basically = basic + al + ly
athletically = athletic + al + ly
democratically = democratic + al + ly
scientifically = scientific + al + ly
characteristically = characteristic + al + ly
sympathetically = sympathetic + al + ly
artistically = artistic + al + ly
heroically = heroic + al + ly
ecstatically = ecstatic + al + ly
patriotically = patriotic + al + ly
enthusiastically = enthusiastic + al + ly
electrically = electric + al + ly

Notice the <ll>'s in all of these words: one for the -al, one for the -ly. The only known holdout to this -al insertion is publicly.

4. Look at the italicized words in this sentence: “The babies cried all during the trial. ”Then fill in the blanks:

The <y>-to- <i> Rule: When you add a suffix to a stem that ends with a <y> that has a consonant letter right in front of it, you change the <y> to <i>.

5. Each of the following adverbs has been made by adding -ly to an adjective that ended in <y>. In each case when the -ly was added, the <y> at the end of the adjective changed to an <i>. Analyze each adverb and show the way the <y> was changed to an <i>, as we've done with he first one:

Adverb = Adjective that ends in <y> + Suffix -ly
merrily = merry + i + ly
angrily = angry + i + ly
busily = busy + i + ly
extraordinarily = extraordinary + i + ly
uneasily = uneasy + i + ly
icily = icy + i + ly
hastily = hasty + i + ly
satisfactorily = satisfactory + i + ly
readily = ready + i + ly
heartily = hearty + i + ly
steadily = steady + i + ly
heavily = heavy + i + ly
necessarily = necessary + i + ly
ordinarily = ordinary + i + ly
temporarily = temporary + i + ly

Teaching Notes.

Item 3. Why publicly is a holdout to the -al insertion pattern is not entirely clear. But it may have something to do with the fact that the <ic> spelling of both publicly and public came very late. Earlier spellings of public were publyke, publike, publique, publicque, publycke, publyque, publicke, publick, publiq. In the 16th century public appeared and quickly became the standard. Publicly did not appear until the 19th century. The now-obsolete, but more regular, publically is given by the OED as an accepted variant, though contemporary American-English dictionaries do not list it. The OED gives several citations for publically from the 20th centuries.

Item 4. There are some complications to the <y> to <i> change: The shift occurs in daily (day + i + ly) even though the <y> is preceded not by a consonant but by a vowel. In dryly and shyly the change does not occur, although there is a more regular variant drily.

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
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Jul 07, 2015
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