28/06/16 What’s the Difference between ‘SOON,’ ‘EARLY,’ & ‘QUICKLY’?
Not all languages have separate equivalents for these three words, and some students may confuse them.
Soon usually relates to the time when one is talking or writing – it means “a short time after now”.
Get well soon. (NOT
Get well quickly.)
Soon can also relate to the time one is talking or writing about – it can mean “a short time after then”.
The work was hard, but she soon got used to it.
The adverb early means “near the beginning of the time-period that we are talking or thinking about”. It does not usually mean “a short time after now”.
Early that week, Luke was called to the police station.
We usually take our holiday early in the year (NOT …
soon in the year.)
I usually get up early and go to bed early. (Not…
I usually get up quickly…)
Sometimes early means “before the expected time”.
The plane arrived twenty minutes early.
Early can also be used as an adjective (e.g. an early train). The adjective early can sometimes have the same kind of meaning as soon.
I would be grateful for an early reply.
Best wishes for an early recovery.
Note the common use of be early/late to mean “arrive early/late”.
That man is never early.
A watch or clock is fast or slow, not early or late.
My watch is five minutes fast.
Quickly refers to the speed with which something is done. Compare:
> Come and see us quickly. (= Hurry – make the arrangements fast.)
> Come and see us soon. (= Come and see us before long.)
> He did the repair quickly but not very well.
I hope you can do the repair soon – I need the car.