Smooth or Smoothly? Understanding the Difference With Examples

Marcus Froland

Even native English speakers scratch their heads over the use of smooth and smoothly. It’s like trying to choose between two ice cream flavors that look almost the same but taste different. Each word slides into our sentences, filling gaps and making everything flow better. But picking the right one? That’s where things get tricky.

The confusion is real, but so is the solution. It’s not about flipping a coin or guessing games; there’s a clear cut between them that can make all the difference in your writing and speaking. Will you be able to spot the line? By the end, finding out will feel like unlocking a secret code.

Understanding the difference between smooth and smoothly can improve your English. Smooth is an adjective. It describes something that has a flat or even surface, like a smooth table. For example, “The stone was smooth.” On the other hand, smoothly is an adverb. It tells us how something happens or is done, often implying no problems or difficulties. For instance, “The meeting went smoothly.”

To decide which to use, think about what you’re describing. If it’s a thing’s quality or condition, go with smooth. But if you’re talking about how an action occurs, then smoothly is your word. Remembering this simple rule will help you choose the right word every time.

Grasping the Basics: Adjectives vs. Adverbs

Understanding the basics of adjectives and basics of adverbs is essential for mastering English grammar. The main difference between these two categories lies in the type of words they modify. Let’s dive deeper into their definitions and how they function:

Adjectives are descriptive words that modify nouns or pronouns, whereas adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs.

An important aspect of adjectives is that they express the characteristics or qualities of nouns (i.e., a person, place, thing, or idea). For example:

  • Smooth – A smooth surface
  • Warm – A warm blanket

On the other hand, adverbs provide more information about how an action is performed (manner), when (time), how often (frequency), to what extent (degree), or with what level of certainty, among other things. For example:

  1. Quickly (manner) – Run quickly
  2. Tomorrow (time) – I will call you tomorrow
  3. Seldom (frequency) – We seldom go on vacation
  4. Quite (degree) – The movie was quite interesting

Misusing adjectives and adverbs can lead to unclear or incorrect sentences. By mastering the basics, you will be better equipped to avoid these errors and enhance your overall communication skills. In particular, the distinction between the adjective “smooth” and the adverb “smoothly” is critical, as seen in Section 1 of this article.

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Modifying Nouns with Adjectives

As mentioned earlier, adjectives modify nouns to provide more information about their characteristics. This means that they express things like appearance, size, color, texture, or feelings, among others. Here are some examples illustrating adjective usage:

  • The tall gentleman
  • A colorful bouquet
  • An enthusiastic student

Modifying Verbs, Adjectives, and Other Adverbs with Adverbs

Adverbs not only modify verbs but also adjectives and other adverbs. When working with adverbs, think about the wider context of a sentence and consider if it needs to convey additional information about how, when, where, or to what extent something happens:

  • He runs swiftly (modifying a verb)
  • She was very happy (modifying an adjective)
  • He works quite diligently (modifying another adverb)

With a firm grasp on the basics of adjectives and adverbs, you can now ensure that your grammar is impeccable, being able to modify nouns with adjectives and modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs with adverbs. In the upcoming sections of this article, we will delve into more detail about how to correctly use “smooth” and “smoothly” in your language.

When to Use “Smooth” in a Sentence

Understanding when to use “smooth” in a sentence is essential for maintaining proper English grammar. As an adjective, “smooth” is used for describing nouns and pronouns, emphasizing their characteristics. This section will discuss the correct usage of “smooth,” as well as its common misuses in everyday language.

Describing Nouns and Pronouns with “Smooth”

When describing a noun or pronoun with the adjective “smooth,” you are drawing attention to a specific trait, such as being without bumps or irregularities or exhibiting suave actions. Some examples include:

  1. I prefer the smooth texture of silk over rougher fabrics like wool.
  2. Her smooth, calming voice instantly put everyone at ease during the presentation.
  3. He impressed everybody with his smooth negotiation skills at the meeting.

“Smooth” can also be used figuratively to highlight someone’s polished or composed demeanor:

“James Bond is known for his smooth, debonair manner in both dangerous situations and social settings.”

Common Misuses of “Smooth” in Everyday Language

It’s important to be aware of the frequent incorrect usage of “smooth” in informal speech, where it often replaces “smoothly” when modifying verbs. Such misuses may be found in slang or casual conversations, but they don’t adhere to proper English grammar rules. For example:

“You handled that situation so smooth!”


Instead, the correct usage would be:

“You handled that situation so smoothly!”


Another example of common misuse is:

“That didn’t go smooth at all!”


The correct form should be:

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“That didn’t go smoothly at all!”


By recognizing when to use “smooth” and “smoothly” correctly, you can enhance your English language knowledge and prevent making common grammar mistakes. Don’t forget that “smooth” is for describing nouns and pronouns, while “smoothly” is used to modify verbs and other adverbs.

The Correct Use of “Smoothly” for Modifying Verbs

Understanding the proper use of adverbs such as smoothly is essential for mastering the English language. These words help paint a clear picture of how an action is taking place by modifying verbs. Let’s dive into the correct usage of “smoothly” along with some examples to help illustrate its significance in improving sentence formation.

First and foremost, “smoothly” should be used when you need to describe the manner in which an action is occurring. For instance, imagine that you are organizing an event and you want to express that everything should go according to plan; you would say, “I need this event to go smoothly.” The adverb “smoothly” modifies the verb “go” and portrays how the event should take place.

Similarly, if you need to describe the way a project is progressing, you can use “smoothly” to modify the verb “happen.” A sentence like, “It’s not been happening smoothly, but we’re getting through it!” shows that the project might have encountered some issues, but the team is working on resolving them.

Remember, “smoothly” is used to provide context to a verb, describing how the action is being performed.

Now that we have established the appropriate use of “smoothly,” let’s explore some common mistakes to avoid while using this adverb:

  1. Do not use “smooth” in place of “smoothly” as they are not interchangeable. “Smooth” is an adjective that modifies nouns, not verbs.
  2. Always use “smoothly” to modify verbs, not adjectives or other adverbs. For example: “He danced smoothly,” where “smoothly” modifies the verb “danced.”
  3. Make sure you choose the right word based on the part of speech you need to modify—using “smooth” instead of “smoothly” in a sentence will result in incorrect grammar.

By incorporating these correct grammar practices and ensuring proper adverb usage, your written and spoken English will dramatically improve. Practice identifying examples of adverbs like “smoothly” and solidify your understanding of their role in enhancing the quality of your sentences.

Case Study: “Go Smooth” or “Go Smoothly”?

In daily conversations, you may have heard phrases like “go smooth” and “go smoothly” being used interchangeably. However, it’s important to distinguish between these expressions and understand when each one is grammatically correct. Let’s explore the correct usage of adverbs in action phrases and examine the difference between “go smooth” and “go smoothly.”

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Exploring Correct Adverb Usage in Action

Go smoothly is the grammatically correct phrase to use in instances where you need to describe the manner in which something is happening or needs to happen. This is because “smoothly” is an adverb that modifies the verb “go.” For example:

I hope the event planning process will go smoothly.

On the other hand, go smooth is an incorrect phrase that is often heard in informal conversations. The adjective “smooth” doesn’t modify the verb “go” and should not be used in this context. Here is an example of an incorrect sentence using “go smooth”:

We want everything to go smooth this time.

To correct this sentence, simply replace “smooth” with “smoothly” as shown below:

We want everything to go smoothly this time.

By understanding the difference between adjectives and adverbs, as well as their applications in action phrases, you can be more cautious in your English grammar usage when using “smooth” or “smoothly.”

In summary, always remember to use “go smoothly” as the appropriate phrase and avoid using “go smooth” in your speech and writing. Stay mindful of correct adverb usage to enhance your overall communication skills and ensure clarity in your chosen expressions.

Expanding Your Grammar: Comparative Uses of “Smooth” and “Smoothly”

As you further develop your understanding of the English language, it is imperative to master comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs. A firm grasp on these grammar nuances will not only enhance your language proficiency but also improve your ability to describe varying degrees of comparison effectively. Let’s delve into the comparative forms of “smooth” and “smoothly.”

Firstly, “more smooth” is a comparative adjective that can be used when you need to express a higher degree of smoothness. For example, consider the sentence “This fabric is more smooth than the other one.” Here, the comparative adjective “more smooth” effectively highlights the distinction between the smoothness of two fabrics.

On the other hand, “more smoothly” is a comparative adverb, modifying how well an action is performed. For instance, in the sentence “She runs more smoothly now after months of training,” “more smoothly” indicates an improvement in the manner of execution of the action “runs.” Mastering these comparative forms of “smooth” and “smoothly” is crucial for precise communication, allowing you to convey the appropriate degree of smoothness in your descriptions as well as actions.

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