"Short" seems to have two adverbs, "short" and "shortly", with different meanings. The first seems to be used primarily idiomatically ("he stopped short"), but I feel like "shortly" is synonymous with "soon". Am I wrong to think that?

E.g. Could I say "He walked shortly and then took a break."? Sounds wrong to me.

Edit, clarification: I'm wondering whether I can use either "short" or "shortly" to replace "briefly"

  • What do you intend your sentence to mean? If you had to put it another way, how would you do that? That is, you can certainly say that: the sentence conforms to what rules there are, but it may not mean what you intend it to. [In particular, if shortly is synonymous with soon, then putting it in the past needs special attention.] – Andrew Leach Jan 27 at 8:23
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    A short trip back to the dictionary should put you in better shape shortly. Do tell us what you discover. – Xanne Jan 27 at 9:06
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    "Short" doesn't have "two adverbs" -- it is an adverb (and an adjective). "Shortly" is an adverb. – FeliniusRex Jan 27 at 15:21
  • "We leave shortly" is common, but "We walk shortly" seems slightly odd - I think "shortly" is only used with a few verbs ("leave", "arrive", "happen"), or in expressions such as "shortly after". Maybe others feel different though. – Stuart F Jan 27 at 17:41

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