Despite knowing full well the negative consequences of our impatience, why many of us are impatient?

Should the word "full" be replaced by "fully"?

It's from a book. I am confused since I feel "well" should be modified by an adverb "fully" rather than an adjective "full".

  • I believe either is correct. Is this a sentence you've written or one you've found somewhere that confuses you?
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:23
  • If it's from a book, you should be sure to include the reference information. Have you come across the concept of a "flat adverb"?
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:27
  • I wasn't aware till now. Thanks for the link. Will be mindful of mentioning the source information from next time.
    – user44702
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 18:29
  • 2
    The problem is with the word-order of the why-clause. To "know full well" is idiomatic.
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 19:08
  • 1
    @user44702 Please add it to this question as well.
    – user230
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


The word "full" is also an adverb that means completely or entirely. So it can modify the other adverb well. The phrase "to know full well" means to understand a situation completely.

Fully is also an adverb, but we use full as an adverb with well; it's a fixed phrase.

  • Downvote for getting the sentence structure wrong. Should be "why are many of us impatient?" Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 2:55
  • WhatRoughBeast, I don't mind your downvote. I replied to what the OP asked. He didn't ask to correct his sentence. Please see Catija's comments
    – Khan
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 9:48
  • @WhatRoughBeast That is not the subject of the sentence. Clearly you can't undo the vote now, but it's certainly not necessary to downvote an answer simply because it does not answer a question that was not asked.
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 22:40

Your sentence should read:

Despite knowing full well the negative consequences of our impatience, why are (so) many of us are impatient?

In a question, the "are" changes its position. Also, the use of "so" in this kind of expression, while not necessary, is common and natural.

As for "know full well," it is true that

1 "full" is a 'flat adverb,' one that does not end in -ly,

but it is also true that

2 "know full well" is one of the most common collocations that uses this form. This can be seen by how many dictionaries give this expression as an example for "full" as an adverb. See the examples in thefreedictonary.

In my experience, know full well is more of a spoken expression, whereas "know fully well" is better for formal contexts, including much writing.

In your sentence, I would use "know fully well," because the flat-adverb version sounds dialectal, slangy, or just too informal for that sentence.

  • It's not the op's sentence and the question is not asking for it to be corrected.
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 28, 2015 at 22:58
  • Editing one's question without telling them what was fixed and why isn't helpful to the mistaken OP at all. @Cat was just indicating how ELLers usually help the OP with the other grammatical errors they have in their post, which aren't relevant to their main question. You're being outright rude. Please read a little about the policies instead of posting snarky comments next time.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 19:19
  • @inɒzɘmɒЯ.A.M And how, sir or madam, do you know what is helpful to this OP? I could care less how ELLers do things. I am not an ELLer, I am here to help the OP, which I have done. And now my answer has been downvoted, despite the fact there is nothing wrong with it. Some "ELLer" downvoted it just to be pissy.This is what makes SE an ugly and ultimately an ineffective place.
    – user20792
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 20:03
  • 3
    Even if your answer were correct, that wouldn't give you license to be rude. Please Be Nice.
    – user230
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 20:16
  • 1
    @User1 "fix mistakes" means to fix slight grammar, punctuation, capitalization or spelling errors. It does not mean to "correct an incorrect assertion in the answer".
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 21:03

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