Tao Lin


Tao Lin is the author of Leave Society (Vintage, 2021), Trip (Vintage, 2018), Taipei (Vintage, 2013), and other books. He edits Muumuu House.


At some point, I started to notice I wanted to modify adverbs with a word before the adverb. Instead of writing, “He quickly ate the mango in a distracted manner,” I wanted to write, “He distractedily quickly ate the mango,” because, among other reasons, I wanted to be more concise. 

I talked to some people about this a little. In 2018, for example, I tweeted this. Later, I named the new-seeming type of word “ily” because to use it you just add “ily” to the word you want to become an “ily.”

An “ily” is a word that qualifies—or adverbs—an adverb. I was going to put ilies in my next novel, and had some in it for a while (“acceleratingily increasing complexication,” “unconsciousily habitually dissimulating”), but then took them out. 

More examples:

She put the large door—that we’d found and carried around—endearingily awkwardly in front of the home area.

A longily concisely written account of skydiving.

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August 27th, 2020 / 10:11 am