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Do we say "in calm", "on calm", or just "calm"? For example:

I am writing in calm
or
I am writing on calm

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  • Neither of those options make sense. Do you want to say "I am calmly writing"? Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 6:38
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    This question may be migrated to English Language Learners
    – Kris
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 6:50
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    As I write this, I am calm. (calm is an adjective). As I sit here, I am calmly writing this. (calmly is an adverb). Stay calm! (adjective) Walk calmly! (adverb)
    – user6951
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 7:14
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    In calm (calm is a noun): She lived in calm all the days of her life.
    – user6951
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 7:38
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    @Amir - Not when you're talking about writing. Have a look.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 10:14

1 Answer 1

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There's no obvious grammatical or syntactic reason why we don't say "I'm writing this in calm".

As @CarSmack points out, "She lived in calm all the days of her life" is perhaps more acceptable. But idiomatically, "She lived in tranquility all the days of her life", for example, is far more likely.

To describe your overall state, use adjectival "I am calm as/while I write". To associate the state more closely with the action of the verb, use adverbial "I am calmly writing" (or "I am writing calmly").

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  • Tranquility works much better than calm, but the statement is still ambiguous. Is the writer writing in a tranquil state of mind, in tranquil surroundings, or both?
    – JimM
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 15:47
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    I never explicitly tried to couple write and tranquil, so that potential ambiguity doesn't arise in the context of my answer. Let's face it, few native speakers would be likely to come out with "I'm tranquilly writing" - it's English, @Jim, but not as we know it. Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 16:03
  • My apologies. I was referring to the ambiguity of the original statement, not to your answer.
    – JimM
    Commented Nov 15, 2014 at 16:18

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