Quicker or More Quickly? (Grammar Lesson)

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Should I say quicker or more quickly?

Quicker and more quickly are both acceptable comparative forms of the adverb quickly. However, as some of your grammar-savvy readers might think quicker is an error or too informal, you should opt for more quickly (unless your writing would really benefit from the flow of text offered by quicker).

Of note, it is common misconception that quicker has only recently passed into English as an adverb through common usage and ignorance of the difference between adverbs and adjectives. However, throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries, quicker was far more common than more quickly. Only since the 1970s has more quickly overtaken quicker. Both terms are now in common use with more quickly marginally ahead of quicker.

Quick and Quicker

Quick is an adjective meaning rapid. The comparative form of quick is quicker. For example:
  • Janet is a quick learner, but John is a quicker learner.
  • (Here, the adjective quick modifies the noun learner, and the comparative adjective quicker modifies the noun learner. Both words are adjectives.)
Read more about the comparative forms of adjectives.

More Quickly and Quicker

Quickly is an adverb meaning rapidly. It has two comparative forms, more quickly and quicker. For example:
  • Janet learns quickly, but John learns more quickly.
  • (Here, the adverb quickly modifies the verb learns, and the comparative adverb more quickly modifies the verb learns. Both words are adverbs.)
  • Janet learns quickly, but John learns quicker.
  • (This time, the comparative adverb quicker modifies the verb learns. This is equally acceptable.)
According to Google's Ngram viewer, the use of quicker has only recently (in the 1970s) dropped below the use of more quickly in books, indicating that quicker has long been in use as an adverb in written work. Nevertheless, the use of quicker is often considered a mistake because it does not fit the usual pattern for forming adverbs.

AdverbComparative Form
RapidlyMore Rapidly
HappilyMore Happily
QuicklyMore Quickly
Quicker

Read more about the comparative forms of adverbs.

Quicker Has Been an Adverb for Centuries

A number of sources suggest that quicker has crossed into English as an adverb because it is easier to say than more quickly and due to a recently developed ignorance of the difference between adjectives and adverbs. However, this does not appear to be the case. In the early 1800s, quicker was nearly three times more common than more quickly, strongly suggesting it has long been in use as an adverb.

For Safety, Opt for More Quickly

Even though you will be able to make a strong case for quicker being a genuine comparative adverb, a fair proportion of your readers are likely to consider it an error or too informal.

Therefore, it makes sense to use more quickly for your comparative adverb because no one will consider it wrong or overly informal.

However, if you need to use quicker to achieve a desired flow of text, then go for it, and fight like a dog if anyone contests it. For example:
  • The quicker it ends, the better it will be.


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