Thusly, he wrote

Was with Kiel, one of my PhD students the other day, reading a draft chapter of his PhD thesis. He used the word ‘thusly’ and at first I thought this was a Kiel-ism (sorry Kiel, you do have a few). However, he assured me it was common usage … and not just for him. I suspected it was a regional idiom and indeed a bit of web searching finds many archaic uses of thusly, but several more recent Lancashire uses.

I suspect the word arose because ‘thus’ often precedes a verb and so has acquired an adverb ‘-ly’ ending … a form of lexical over-generalisation. … and if you have not already stopped reading because you can’t understand why anyone would be even interested in this level of language … as I did the web search found a lovely discussion site called INTERACTION (and no, this one is not the synonymous BCS HCI Group) where one person mildly mocked another for using ‘thusly’ in the 21st Century … obviously not a Lancashire lad.

This has also made me reflect on my own frequent use of ‘thus’ to mean ‘therefore’ as opposed to ‘in this way’ … argh am I really a grammar nerd :-/

4 thoughts on “Thusly, he wrote

  1. You made me curious: should ‘thus’ only be used to mean ‘in this way’, or can it also serve as a synonym for ‘therefore’? 🙂

  2. I think it is often used, but not good English.

    I think is is strictly acceptable to say:
    “he rowed and thus got to the other side”
    which means “and in this manner”

    it is then a short step to write things like:
    “it was a sunny day and thus she went for a swim”

    The latter means simply “therefore” or “and so” and I think strictly poor English … but not 100% sure

  3. oh my good ! I once knew a guy who thought he could add ly to all adverbs ..
    like well, better and much
    he was still learning English though.. the consequences were pretty horrific

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