Real Spellers

English Makes Sense!

Here's one a student stumped me with recently -- why is it <frantically> instead of <franticly>? We looked in many dictionaries, and the <-al> doesn't seem to add to the meaning, nor to the pronunciation, and there doesn't seem to be a word <*frantical> (at least not in the OED). We found many other words with <-ic+-al+ly>, some of which made sense (<musically> and <chemically>, for example), but there were others where the <-al> seems superfluous (such as <basically> and <psychically>). Then there were others, such as <publicly>, that didn't get an <-al>). Etymology dictionaries were no help, nor was the OED.

I also couldn't find anything about this in the TBox2, though it's probably there somewhere. Any ideas?

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