My sister is an English learner. In her English exam I noticed this sentence:

She just smiled ...... when her friends reminded of the day she slept in class. (EMBARRASS)

The answer given is embarrassedly

However, I couldn't find that word in online dictionaries such as Oxford, Cambridge or Longman, but I did see some examples of embarrassedly used in sentences. That's the same case with 'interestedly'

I'm so confused. Can I use embarrassingly instead?


1 Answer 1


You can't use embarrassingly, because that would mean that the smile caused other people to feel embarrassed.

Embarrassedly is a valid word, but it's not very easy to say, so we often use phrases like in an embarrassed way instead.

  • So in some cases, embarrassedly and interestedly can be used eventhough they are not included in dictionary? Nov 5, 2021 at 9:26
  • Embarrassedly is included here. Interestedly is in the Macmillan dictionary. Nov 5, 2021 at 9:36
  • It's common to form an adverb by adding -ly to an adjective (or a past participle functioning as an adjective), even if the adverb isn't listed in the dictionary. English lets you construct new words using rules like this.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 5, 2021 at 10:13
  • Thank you very much! Nov 5, 2021 at 10:27

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