Word Choice: Quick vs. Quickly
  • 2-minute read
  • 2nd June 2020

Word Choice: Quick vs. Quickly

Will you read this blog post “quick” or “quickly”? Which word should you use and when? If you’re not sure, then check out our simple guide to what these words mean and how to use them correctly.

Quick (Adjective)

“Quick” is an adjective, so we use it to modify nouns. Its main use is to describe something that happens at speed or in a short amount of time:

The following morning, we had a quick chat about the incident.

I was expecting a quick response.

We can also use it for someone who is fast to think, learn, or react:

Sophie was a quick learner, picking up the new vocabulary in days.

The word “fast” has a similar meaning to “quick” in some cases, but these words are also different in some important ways.

Quickly (Adverb)

The adverb “quickly” means that something happened at speed or without delay. And since it is an adverb, we use this term to modify verbs (i.e., to say how an action is performed):

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We drove quickly to get home before sunset.

I quickly passed the phone to Tom and left the room.

Nowadays, some people use “quick” as an adverb in place of “quickly”:

The book gave tips on how to get rich quick.

This is not usually a problem in everyday conversation, as people will know what you mean. But in formal writing, such as an essay, you should only use “quick” as an adjective and “quickly” as an adverb.

Summary: Quick or Quickly?

These words are similar in that both refer to something being fast or happening in a short amount of time. However, they do have different uses:

  • Quick is an adjective, so you should use it to modify nouns.
  • Quickly is an adverb, so you should use it to modify verbs.

Hopefully, the difference between these words is now clear. But if you’d like extra help to ensure you have used adjectives and adverbs correctly, why not try proofreading? You’ll find that our service is very quick!

Comments (5)
Bertwell Nyeduko
6th June 2021 at 06:45
My confusion is sorted. Thanks
Maria
18th February 2022 at 19:52
Please, advise me here. I was astonished to find the following sentence in Prepare 4 Cambridge p. 42 Workbook : I need to eat it quick. Please, how is this explaned ? What grammar rules are behind it?
    Proofed
    21st February 2022 at 09:55
    Hi, Maria. As we mention in the post, people often use "quick" as an adverb these days. It would feel unusual to us to see it used like that in a formal context, including in a textbook, but most dictionaries do now list the adverbial use, so perhaps the publisher has decided it's acceptable? Or perhaps the book is discussing conversational English in that section? Or it could just be an error! You'd have to contact the publisher to be certain (we can only speculate without seeing the book and the context in which the sentence appears). Regardless, we'd still suggest using "quickly" as an adverb and "quick" as an adjective in any formal or semi-formal writing for now, as plenty of people will still treat "quick" as an error if they see it used as an adverb.
    Tobesky
    16th March 2022 at 06:35
    Please I got into an argument Regarding this two statements please clearify which is correct statement. "That is how quickly " and That is how quick
      Proofed
      16th March 2022 at 09:05
      Hi, Tobesky. Neither of those statements are grammatical (at least without some kind of context) and the correct word would depend on whether you're describing an action (e.g., "That is how quickly the car moves," where "quickly" tells us about the action "moves") or a noun (e.g., "That is how quick the process is," where "quick" describes the noun "process").

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