ADJECTIVES used as adverbs

Adjectives are freely used as Adverbs.

In Early English, many adverbs were formed from adjectives by adding e (dative) to the positive degree: as bright, adj.; brighte, adv. In time the e was dropped, but the adverbial use was kept. Hence, from a false analogy, many adjectives (such as excellent) which could never form adverbs in e, were used as adverbs. We still say colloquially, "come quick;" "the moon shines bright," &c. But Shakespeare could say:

“Which the false man does easy.

“Some will dear abide it.

“Thou didst it excellent.

“Which else should free have wrought.

“Raged more fierce.

“Grow not instant old.

“'Tis noble spoken.

“Did I expose myself pure for his love.

“Equal ravenous as he is subtle.

We find the two forms of the adverb side by side in:

“She was new lodged and newly deified.

The position of the article shows that mere is an adverb in:

“Ay, surely, mere the truth.


“It shall safe be kept.

“Heaven and our Lady gracious has it pleas'd.

“(I know) when the blood burns how prodigal the soul
Lends the tongue vows.

Such transpositions as "our lady gracious," (adj.) where "gracious" is a mere epithet, are not common in Shakespeare. (See 419.) In

“My lady sweet, arise,

"My-lady" is more like one word than "our lady," and is also an appellative. In appellations such transpositions are allowed. (See 13.)

Sometimes the two forms occur together:

“And she will speak most bitterly and strange.

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