Saturday, October 2, 2010

especially |iˈspe sh əlē|

In writing a message to a friend, I used the word specially. Curious to see in what respects the word differed from especially, I looked up the latter in my computer's dictionary application. Here is what I found:

1 used to single out one person, thing, or situation over all others : he despised them all, especially Sylvester | a new song, written especially for Jonathan.

2 to a great extent; very much : he didn't especially like dancing | [as submodifier ] sleep is especially important for growing children.

USAGE There is some overlap in the uses of especially and specially. In the broadest terms, both words mean ‘particularly’ and the preference for one word over the other is linked with particular conventions of use rather than with any deep difference in meaning. For example, there is little to choose between: written especially for Jonathan and | written specially for Jonathan, and neither is more correct than the other. On the other hand, in sentences such as | he despised them all, especially Sylvester, substitution of specially is found in informal uses but should not be used in written English, while in | the car was specially made for the occasion, substitution of especially is somewhat unusual. Overall, especially is by far the more common of the two.
And here is what the thesaurus said:

1 complaints poured in, especially from Toronto MAINLY, mostly, chiefly, principally, largely; substantially, particularly, primarily, generally, usually, typically.

2 a committee especially for the purpose EXPRESSLY, specially, specifically, exclusively, just, particularly, explicitly.

3 he is especially talented EXCEPTIONALLY, particularly, specially, very, extremely, singularly, strikingly, distinctly, unusually, extraordinarily, uncommonly, uniquely, remarkably, outstandingly, really; informal seriously, majorly.

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