I was wondering if we can use "nice" as an adverb instead of "nicely" in this context?

  • I want you to play nice if you don't want to get into trouble.

The context is about a sports game with tricky rules.


2 Answers 2


My answer is about US English; UK English may differ slightly, but - Informally, yes; formally, no.

Play nice is actually an idiom, the kind of thing you would say to children or animals - I yell at my cats "Play nice!" if they start playing too violently with each other.

And informally, you might say something like "He did real nice" or "It's going nice".

But it isn't a general-purpose adverb; I would not write in a formal context, "The deployment of the HS23 capacitance units is proceeding nice." In a formal context I would always say nicely.

  • 1
    @NicholasCastagnola - Well, that's getting into kind of a philosophical area. If it is how people actually speak, then it is "correct" at least as a description of practical English usage.
    – stangdon
    Dec 8, 2017 at 19:56

As far as my knowledge goes , each and every lexical book doesn't seem to be interested in using ' nice' as an adverb as evident from their inclination to the usage of ' nicely ' as an adverb but I think the world doesn't end here . To our great relief ,Merriam Webster dictionary is found to come forward to our rescue by using this word which is elsewhere considered only as an adjective and no more than that , as an adverb at least in informal usage PHEWWWW!!!! It served us some examples to show the usage of ' nice': as an adverb . Please read the following sentences extracted from the very book They plan to fix up the place real nice . He still had his bald spots , but the fur that he did have cleaned up nice . What a good job ! As for me , I feel so nice now..

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