I'm currently studying for my proficiency exam and I just came across a vocabulary problem that I need some help with:

In one of the exam questions the correct solution to a 'fill-in-the-gap'-exercise was the following:

'..., but it is in fact a habit which is COMPARATIVELY easy to acquire.'

Before looking at the solutions I had the word 'comparably' instead of 'comparatively' in the gap. I tried to look at some sample phrases using 'comparably' to get a feel for the difference between the two words here but I can't seem to get the hang of it.

If anybody could shine a light on the use of these two words, that'd be great.

2 Answers 2


The definitions will reveal the difference.


in a similar way or to a similar degree.


to a moderate degree as compared to something else; relatively.

Source: Oxford Dictionaries

...but it is in fact a habit which is similarly(comparably) easy to acquire

It is contradictory to use 'but'(which introduces a view that is different from what was stated in the first part of the sentence) and comparably(similarly) in the same fragment.

... but it is in fact a habit which is relatively(comparatively) easy to acquire

Since a comparison is being made here, it is absolutely correct to use 'comparatively'. Comparatively and but correspond with each other in terms of meaning.

Comparatively as well as comparably, convey the meaning of comparison(estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people) but it must be noted that comparably talks only about the similarities whereas comparatively takes both similarities and dissimilarities into consideration.


"Comparatively +adj" is a variant of "relatively +adj". The BNC shows roughly 8000 incients for relatively and 1000 incidently for comparatively.



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