The instrumental ablative construction ADJECTIVE + MENTE (from mens, mentis f mind) gradually replaced the adjectives of manner formed in Classical Latin by the suffix -ter. Of course, the adjectives were used in their feminine form to agree with the gender of mens. Thus we have the expressions:

Subsequently both elements were merged (clara mente became claramente) and it appeared as if -mente was a suffix added to a feminine adjective.

This pattern of forming adjectives of manner was inherited in the modern Romance languages.

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