It is correct to use "to be keenly interested in", but "to be keen on sth" means "to be interested in sth", and so, isn't it essentially saying "interestedly interested," that is, repeating the same word twice but as different parts of speech? I recognise, however, that "keenly" means "deeply" in this case, but is it the only reason why it's used this way? Are there any other examples like this, or does this one just happen to be an idiomatic one?

Couldn't I, for instance, say something like "to drowsily go to sleep" instead of "to drowse/to go to sleep"?

  • But quite apart from the fact that "interestedly" isn't really a "valid" English word, I'm quite sure "keenly" doesn't mean whatever you think "interestedly" means. And even if it did, there's no principle in English saying we should avoid repetition/ tautology anyway. You can say He drowsily went to sleep if you like, just as you can say He vocally spoke - but in practice, native speakers just don't. Feb 25, 2021 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


“Keen” is not a synonym of “interested.”

In your example, it has the sense (quoting from MW) of “intense.”

It is distinguishing between “mildly,” “moderately,” and “greatly” interested. “Keenly” clarifies the degree of interest.

  • 'To be keen on something' means to be enthusiastic about it. Feb 25, 2021 at 19:45

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