I found this in Swan's PEU

He was mad madly in love with her.

It says adverb modifying adverbial phase. But...

He was mad in love with her --sounds okay to me as I consider mad as an adjective there.

Is the latter sentence okay or mad should be considered as an adverb only and thus it must be madly. The sentence on its own is fine I think but it's my opinion.

  • It sounds like something I'd hear in casual conversation amongst teenagers, but your English teacher would insist on madly unless it was intentional vernacular usage.
    – Jim
    May 31 '14 at 5:17
  • 1
    You'll find it in Jeremy Irons' film, "Lolita" (1997). "...we were hopelessly madly in love...".
    – M.N
    May 31 '14 at 6:04
  • @M.N: Why stick with the film, if the book has "All at once we were madly, clumsily, shamelessly, agonizingly in love with each other;"
    – oerkelens
    May 31 '14 at 8:34
  • @oerkelens: You're absolutely right. Unfortunately, I didn't have access to the book so I tried to provide "Maulik V" with the next best thing.
    – M.N
    May 31 '14 at 8:41

In another Michael Swan's grammar book called "How English Works" he explains that:

"We also use adverbs before (1) adjectives, (2) past participles, (3) other adverbs, and (4)prepositional expressions."

  1. It's terribly cold.
  2. This is very badly cooked.
  3. You're driving unusually fast.
  4. He was madly in love with her.

I think only if you consider mad in love as a phrase in itself.
It would be something like

He was "mad in love" with her.

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