'Act' (adverb+adjective)


Please tell me if the given sentences are same; can act come with both adjective and adverb with no change in meaning?

1- He acted defiant.
2- He acted defiantly.

1- He acted stupid.
2- He acted stupidly.


Hi Tom

That’s an interesting question.

You can use the word “act” as a linking verb (a copular verb) and then the adjective is necessary.

I’d interpret a difference in meaning this way:

1- He acted defiant. => He acted (as if he were) defiant.
i.e., His general demeanor was defiant. It’s also possible that he was just “play-acting” or was just putting on a show of defiance.)

2- He acted defiantly. => A specific action was defiantly done.

1- He acted stupid. => He acted (as if he were) stupid.
i.e., His actions and demeanor indicated a general lack of intelligence.

2- He acted stupidly. => A specific action was stupidly done.


Hi Amy

The answer is far more interesting and informative–thanks a lot.