I heard a native English speaker said:

I am severely in need of it.

It sounds much better than

I am severe in need of it.

to me.

But thinking more deeply, isn't need a noun here hence it should be an adjective severe? Like "I'm good in shape."

But using adverb still sound more natural to me in many cases(but not the shape case above), for example "They inherently in genes are cute."

So what should it use actually?

  • You have the preposition in the wrong place in the second sentence. It should read "I am in severe need of it." Also, "They inherently in genes are cute" makes no sense... genes are the things your body is made of... as in DNA... Do you mean "jeans"? Even so, the sentence doesn't make sense. What are you trying to say?
    – Catija
    Mar 6, 2017 at 20:49
  • @Catija I mean they are born cute.
    – CYC
    Mar 8, 2017 at 1:31

1 Answer 1


Keep in mind the usual position of adjectives and adverbs.

I am severely in need of it.

is OK. severely (an adverb) modifies am (verb).
The second example needs to be:

I am in severe need of it.

where severe (an adjective) modifies need (noun). A prepositional phrase in the predicate is appropriate since you can't have a direct object with to be.

The meanings are roughly the same, though the emphasis is a bit more on "I" in the first one, and on the "need" in the second one.

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