It’s sometimes difficult to remember the difference between adjectives and adverbs, especially when one word can become two parts of speech. For example, we often describe things as “easy,” but is it correct to say “more easily”?
It is correct to say “more easily.” When you add “more” to the adverb “easily,” you create an adverbial phrase describing how you might do something. You can add “more” to nearly all comparative adverbs to add emphasis and show a comparison. For example, you could say, “You run more easily than I can.”
Continue reading to learn more about adverbial phrases and comparative adverbs, such as “more easily.”
What Does “More Easily” Mean?
“More easily” is an adverbial phrase indicating that one thing is easier or less difficult than another. You can use this phrase to compare two tasks, activities, or actions.
The word “easier” means that you can do something without much effort or it doesn’t require much work (source). On the other hand, the term “more” indicates something of a more significant amount. While these two words together seem contradictory, you can use this word to form the comparative form for many adjectives and adverbs (source).
When you use the adverbial phrase “more easily,” you are always indicating a comparison, whether you state it explicitly or your listener or reader assumes what you are comparing based on the context of the conversation or surrounding sentences.
For example, you might say, “You understand complicated math equations more easily than I do.” Or, “You can pick her up from school more easily than I can today.”
In the first sentence, we compare how one person learns math equations to another. In the second, we are saying that it’s easier for someone else to pick up the person than it will be for the other because of distance, time, or other factors.
In other words, when you use the phrase “more easily,” you are expressing a difference in the level of challenge or difficulty. Remember that it is an adverb phrase, which differs from an adjective.
How Do You Use “More Easily”?
You can use “more easily” as an adverbial phrase to show a comparison. However, because it is an adverb phrase, you can only use it to modify other verbs, adjectives, or adverbs.
Remember that “easily” is an adverb, not an adjective, like “easy.” So, the way you use it is different than you would use the base form of the word.
For example, you can say, “My homework was easy!” Here, “easy” modifies the noun “homework,” describing what was easy.
You can create the comparative form by adding an “-er” ending, such as “My homework was easier today than yesterday.” You would not say “more easy” as you would with the adverb “easily.” We’ll talk more about comparative forms at the end of this article.
So, it’s essential to remember that adjectives modify or provide more information about nouns and pronouns. Adverbs function similarly because they also modify other words, but you cannot use an adverb to modify a noun (source). Therefore, adverbs always modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.
Using “More Easily” Correctly
The most common way you’ll use “more easily” is to modify a verb or action word. This is because you essentially show how someone does something and the difficulty level involved.
“More” is a comparative word that shows an increase while indicating or comparing two things, one that you can do “more easily” or with less difficulty than the other.
We’ll go through more examples shortly but look at the sentences below to show incorrect ways to use “more easily.”
- I learned how to play tennis more easily than I did basketball.
- Tennis is more easily than basketball.
- I learned how to play tennis easier than I did basketball.
Of the four sentences above, only the first is correct. The second is incorrect because tennis is a noun, so we would want to use the comparative adjective “easier” rather than the adverbial “more easily.”
The third sentence is also incorrect because the comparative form “easier” modifies nouns only. In this sentence, we are modifying a verb, comparing how we learned to play tennis versus basketball, which requires the adverbial phrase “more easily.” The corrected sentence would read:
- I learned how to play tennis more easily than I did basketball.
When Can You Use “More Easily”?
You can use “more easily” any time you want to show a comparison between two ideas that differ in the level of challenge or difficulty.
There are many different contexts in which you can use this phrase. Remember that you must use the phrase correctly as an adverbial phrase that most frequently modifies a verb (though adverbial phrases can modify other adverbs and adjectives as well).
You’ll likely use this phrase more often in speech versus in writing, though you can certainly use it in essays, emails, and other written forms of communication. It is neither formal nor informal.
For example, if you send an email to your boss, you’ll likely choose a more formal tone with your writing. But you can add the phrase “more easily” to express that you can accomplish a task “more easily” than another.
Or perhaps you want to make a suggestion such as in a sentence like this: “We can purchase a new copy machine more easily from this company versus the other one.”
In an informal conversation with a friend, you might say, “I can meet you more easily at the restaurant than at the mall.”
There aren’t too many contexts in which this phrase would not work as long as you compare two things and use it correctly as an adverbial phrase.
When Not to Use “More Easily”
You should not use “more easily” if modifying a noun. You should also avoid this phrase if you are not making a comparison or adding emphasis, as “more” indicates the comparative form of the adverb “easily.”
Earlier, we discussed the comparative form of “easy” if you use it as an adjective. You would add an “-er” ending to the base form of the word, first changing the “y” to an “i” and then adding “-er.”
So, if you want to modify a noun, you’ll avoid using “more easily” and use “easier” instead. For example, you can say, “That math problem was easier than the last.” Here, the word “easier” is necessary because you modify a noun, the math problem.
And again, if you are not making a comparison, the phrase will not work – you should only use it to compare two actions, one being a lower level of difficulty or challenge.
Using “More Easily” in a Full Sentence
You can use “more easily” as part of a complete sentence, whether simple or complex. One example of a full sentence with “more easily” is, “Since I don’t have much time, I can bake a batch of cookies more easily than I can bake a pie.”
The above example is a complex sentence, but in conversation, you may use the phrase both in simple and complex sentences or as part of a conversation. Here is an example using “more easily” as part of an answer to a question.
- Speaker 1: “Would you like to order from this restaurant?”
- Speaker 2: “No, I can find something I like more easily at the other one.”
Below are a few more examples;
- I can find your location more easily if you give me the street names.
- You’ll be able to find a job more easily if you update your resume. I can help!
- I think we’ll take the train. We’ll arrive quickly and more easily than if we drive.
What Can You Use Instead of “More Easily”?
There are a lot of synonyms for the word “easily,” and you can add “more” to create the comparative form for quite a few words that have a similar meaning, such as “comfortably” or “simply.”
Remember, if you are looking for a synonymous word or phrase to directly replace “more easily” within your sentence, you’ll need to choose one that is also an adverb.
Here are a few:
- More comfortably
- More simply
- More certainly
- More plainly
Note that these words are closely related to “easily” but do not have the same meaning, so look up the definition first.
Below are other words and phrases that are not necessarily adverbial phrases but have a similar or the same meaning (source):
- Easier to do
- Easier to make
- Easier to accomplish
- An easier way would be
- To make it easier
- It might be easier
- It would be easier
- It would be simpler
Comparative and Superlative Adverbs
Comparative and superlative adverbs help show a difference. For adverbs that end in “-ly,” you will always need to add either “more” or “most.” For other adverbs that do not end in “-ly,” you can follow the same rules as you would for comparative adjectives, adding “-er” or “-est.”
Some adverbs are unique in that they are irregular in their comparative or superlative forms. For example, the adverb “badly” becomes “worse” in the comparative form and “worst” in the superlative form. Therefore, it would be incorrect to say “more badly.”
Another irregular adverb that changes form entirely is the word “little.” You would change “little” to “less” for the comparative form and “least” for the superlative.
Also, remember that you’ll only use the comparative form when comparing two ideas and the superlative form when comparing three ideas.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
If you’d like to learn more about comparative forms and how to use them correctly, take a look at Is It Correct to Say “More Often”?
Using “more easily” is simple, as long as you remember that you are creating the comparative form for the adverb “easily.” You can use it to make a comparison and add emphasis to the level of difficulty or challenge involved.
Remember, too, that you’ll only use “easily” to modify verbs – if you are modifying a noun, you’ll choose “easy” or “easier” instead.