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Word comparisons

Note 353 – Is it ‘formally’ or ‘formerly’?

The word formally was underlined in the spell check just after I posted Note 352 yesterday, and it prompted me to change it to formerly so I quickly did (unfortunately without thinking). Whilst typing this blog today and running myself down thinking that I had spelt something wrong, I have now realised that I actually spelt it right to start with (for those that spotted it, I’ve just switched over and changed it back). The sentence that I wrote was:

“For all intents and purposes Chloe was the manager, even though she hadn’t formally been promoted”.

In the above sentence I meant ‘”..she hadn’t officially been promoted” so do you agree that I spelt it right?

The adverb formerly means “in the past; in earlier times” (source: Oxford Dictionaries online), for example:

  • She was formerly known as Miss Brooks.

The adverb formally means: ‘officially’ or ‘in accordance with convention or etiquette’ (source: Oxford Dictionaries online), for example:

  • They dressed formally for the Scottish wedding
  • Let’s announce the structure formally, in our team meeting on Tuesday

The moral of the blog is: be cautious when using ‘spell check’ or at least click on the ‘explain’ option that WordPress provides, as that gives you the definitions. I didn’t do that yesterday as it was late and I was tired – shame on me!

Until tomorrow…

13 days to go on My Writing Challenge…


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Please let me know what you think of my blog - constructive comments welcome. Have a great day Sandra Freelance Writer


5 thoughts on “Note 353 – Is it ‘formally’ or ‘formerly’?

  1. The taming of spellcheck is a crucial part of the writer’s journey . . .

    Posted by Andy Szpuk | April 17, 2012, 10:37 pm


  1. Pingback: Note 358 – Comparing morale and moral « My writing challenge - April 22, 2012

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