What’s the opposite of ‘swimmingly’? What do you say when something’s not going swimmingly? It’s hardly ‘sinkingly’, is it? It doesn’t strike me as having a natural antonym.

We have so many different words to describe what is essentially ‘well’. Many writers and communicators say that an adverb is unnecessary, lazy, superfluous. But sometimes it can also add colour, emotion, or accuracy.

None of which helps with what you say if you want to convey the opposite of swimmingly. The positive implies both buoyancy and movement, so the antonym could be buoyant but not moving – ‘floatingly’? – or neither buoyant nor moving, so perhaps sinkingly or ‘flailingly’.

These are the thoughts that trouble a troubled mind. WordPress at any rate likes none of them, inserting an ugly dashed red line underneath each one to suggest that they’re not words.

Or, that they haven’t been coined yet