Dictionary.com Word FAQs

How do I know when to use tight as opposed to tightly?

The choice depends on whether the word applies to the process of clamping, closing, freezing, or shutting or to the state of one of these that endures for some time. For the former, the word to use is tightly and for the latter, tight. Tight is used both as an adjective and adverb: Those are some tight pants he is wearing. Please pull the door tight or it will not stay shut. Hold me tight. I cannot open the tight lid. Tightly only functions as an adverb: Hold tightly to the horse's reins. Holding the reins tightly, he let the horse gallop. The lid was shut tightly.

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