behave in a friendly way / coyly

Discussion in 'English Only' started by duden, Feb 26, 2007.

  1. duden Senior Member

    Hi, pls is it o.k. to say

    "He behaved (to me) in a friendly way."


    "He behaved very coyly." ?

    I was just wondering whether I should use the adverb or the adjective...

    Thank you
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Well, "friendly" and "coyly" mean different things, Duden, so I'm not sure how to answer this. Have you checked out the meaning of "coy" in a dictionary? To behave in a "coy" manner does not equate with behaving in a "friendly" manner.
  3. duden Senior Member

    Sorry, my question was a little confusing - I know what "coyly" means. I was just interested in the form of the two expressions - there shouldn´t be any relation between the two sentences. I´d just like to know, whether it is correct to used the adverb forms (coyly, in a friendly way) after the verb "behave".
  4. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    Oh, sorry I misunderstood, Duden.:eek: Yes, you could use both in the way you have suggested.
  5. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    English (USA)
    The structure of "behaving coyly" is correct, but I think "coy" is most often used as an adjective following the copula, i.e.

    "He was being coy."
    "Just in the way she spoke, she was being coy."

    In fact, as I search my head for examples of correct or common usage, I don't even want to say "She is coy." I always want to use the progressive "being" with the word.

    Dimcl? Do we hear the word often used as an adverb, "coyly"? Even as you brainstormed it, you wrote "behaved in a coy manner." It's sort of like saying "He behaved cutely." That's not something you'd hear.
  6. duden Senior Member

    Maybe "coy" is not a word of everyday life - but in our Czech textbooks this particular adjective appears frequently as an illustration for an exceptional way of forming the adverbial form (the unchanging "y" before the suffix -ly unlike e.g. "heavy" - "heavily")...
  7. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    English (USA)
    Ah yes, very interesting. I hadn't thought of that.

    "Coyly" is certainly a word. But I think I would expect only to see it in doggerel (comic verse). "Coy," however, you see all over the place. So I meant to say "coy" was very common, "coyly" not very.
  8. duden Senior Member

    Just to be completely sure...
    Is it also possible to say

    "He behaved very friendly to us."

    or do I HAVE to put the adverb form "in a friendly way" here?

  9. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    The adverb from friendly would be friendlily. But we avoid it because it looks and sounds funny:)

  10. coiffe

    coiffe Senior Member

    English (USA)
    You would most commonly say, "He was very friendly to us." Friendly is an adjective, not an adverb.

    You could also say "He behaved in a friendly way" but to make an observation about how he behaved carries other subtle connotations. There is almost (not necessarily, though) the suggestion that "Although he is never friendly, he nevertheless behaved in a friendly way on that Tuesday afternoon ..." To make an observation about his behavior is to imply that his behavior is normally indelicate or not good in some way (therefore deserving of observation) ... "behavior" is often used of children, who must be watched ...


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