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Is there any other word I can use instead of respectively?

This word provides me a way to describe a list of items conveniently in a single sentence and hence save space. I've used this many times and there are mainly two reasons I am asking this:

  1. I'm just looking for alternatives, since I don't want to use the same word everywhere.
  2. Another small reason is that I find the word respectively a bit long which makes writing short sentences using it difficult.

Since an example of its use was requested:
"Samantha, John and Jack bought apples, mangoes and oranges respectively from the market." (I know it's not a very creative one.)

I also looked for synonyms at thesaurus.com but the only close ones I found were correspondingly and individually. I'm unsure whether these are valid substitutions for the use of respectively as in my example.

  • Is there something wrong with my question? – Alraxite Jul 10 '13 at 22:50
  • Which words did you find when you looked for synonyms, and why were they not satisfactory? (This information would save people suggesting words that you have already rejected.) – TrevorD Jul 10 '13 at 23:51
  • @TrevorD I checked it at thesaurus.com. The only close ones I found were 'correspondingly' and 'individually', but I'm unsure whether these are valid substitutions for the use of 'respectively' I'm looking for (like in my example). – Alraxite Jul 11 '13 at 0:17
  • Thanks for the extra info. I've edited your question to incorporate it. I agree with you that they are not really appropriate. I also use 'respectively' fairly often and I can't, at present, think of any suitable substitutes. I don't know what kind of context you are using it in, but my only real suggestion is to try to rephrase things sometimes to avoid its use if frequency of use is really a problem. I've never really thought of word length as an issue. (incidentally, personally, I would put commas either side of respectively in your example.) – TrevorD Jul 11 '13 at 0:32
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    @Kris Shouldn't the correct interpretation of "Samantha, John and Jack each bought apples, mangoes and oranges from the market," be that all three of them bought all three of the fruits? I would personally interpret it in this way, but I may be wrong. – Alraxite Jul 17 '13 at 22:01
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Using "respectively" can be confusing as it is, and synonyms such as "correspondingly" only make it worse since we're not used to this. If you absolutely have to use one or the other, use "respectively." However, it is much less confusing to avoid "respectively" altogether, and it doesn't even take up any more space. Here's a better way of wording your example: "At the market, Samantha bought apples, John bought mangoes, and Jack bought oranges." This sentence is the same length as your original sentence (both are 13 words) and it flows much more easily.

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In Strunk and White's Elements of Style, using "respectively" in this manner (and thus using a synonym in this manner) is discouraged:

Respective. Respectively. These words may usually be omitted with advantage. . . . [Example:] The mile run and the two-mile run were won by Jones and Cummings respectively. [Better:] The mile run was won by Jones, the two-mile run by Cummings. (page 57 in the Third Edition)

Following Strunk and White, the way to word your sentence would be: "Samantha bought apples, John bought mangoes, and Jack bought oranges from the market." The problem here is it sounds like Jack was the only one who bought from the market, an the others bought somewhere else. A quick solution is to rearrange the sentence: "At the market, Samantha bought apples, John bought mangoes, and Jack bought oranges."

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"Correspondingly"

A clear example that includes the word you want replaced would be helpful. Respectively has a specific meaning when used with a list; that is, it typically clarifies an order of reference. "Correspondingly" might work, though it isn't "shorter".

I'm having some difficulty with ". . . makes writing short sentences using it difficult. . . ." You have a list, and are modifying the sentence in some way with "respectively". It is one thing to not use the same word in all instances (". . . since I don't want to use the same instance of this word everywhere."), but that doesn't help with "short".

  • I've edited my question. I hope it's more clear now. – Alraxite Jul 10 '13 at 23:12
  • Do you think 'correspondingly' would be a proper replacement in the example I gave? – Alraxite Jul 11 '13 at 0:07
  • Not speaking for Sophie, but 'No', I don't. – TrevorD Jul 11 '13 at 0:34

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