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When should each of them be used?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

By rearranging a sentence, you can figure out what your intention is. Remember that "specially" and "especially" are adverbs, so try to figure out what they mean for the verb.

Also remember that "especially" is the adverb of the adjective "especial", which means "unique".

For instance:

  • He has a specially made key. Making the key was special. (Replaced by an adjective.)

  • The key was made especially for him. Making the key was uniquely done for him. (Can't be replaced by the adjective.)
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In most contexts “specially” is more common than “especially,” but when you mean “particularly” “especially” works better: “I am not especially excited about inheriting my grandmother’s neurotic Siamese cat.” “Especial” in the place of “special” is very formal and rather old-fashioned. Source

"specially" Definitions:

  1. (adv) in a special manner
  2. (adv) to a distinctly greater extent or degree than is common

"specially" Usages:

  1. After 911, she organized the sale of specially designed T shirts to benefit a Twin Towers fund and spearheaded a p.
  2. The M80 achieves its remarkable draft with a specially sculpted hull that lets air and water flow underneath to reduce wind resistance and generate lift.
  3. Large, specially equipped Pave Low helicopters flew dark, low and fast toward the refinery from just over the Kuwait border.

"especially" Definitions:

  1. (adv) to a distinctly greater extent or degree than is common
  2. (adv) in a special manner

"especially" Usages:

  1. Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans in general and soybeans in particular.
  2. It's a wind turbine designed especially for home use.
  3. But American parents especially may wish to study up on the possible candidates.


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A few sources such as http://www.vocabulary.com/articles/chooseyourwords/especially-specially/ mention that:

  • especially is a bit more formal

  • especially good implies that there is one or a few specific other things which are less good.

    specially does not: only that it is more good than the average.

    It's a non-precise quantitative difference.

Personally, I wish one of them were killed, as the meanings are too close.

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specially is usually used with verbs. especially with sentences or adverbal phrases.

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