I would like to know if there are any differences in usage, grammar and meaning of:
fully, wholly, completely and totally.

According to the Macmillan Dictionary; fully means completely, completely means that ‘every part of it is done’, wholly means completely, and totally means completely as well.

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  • 2
    Please look these words up in a dictionary, and rewrite your question in light of what you learn from the dictionary definitions. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Jun 5 '16 at 13:46
  • @ab2 here it goes, to the Macmillan dictionary all of them means completely. – Anna Furtado Jun 5 '16 at 13:53
  • So they do. I'll have to get back to you later. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Jun 5 '16 at 15:06
  • 1
    The four words are just variants. Of course, there may be cases where one or two of them are preferred or one or two of them are not usual, but in general the four words are variants of the same idea. – rogermue Jun 5 '16 at 15:32
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    What makes you think there is some difference between those? – tchrist Jun 5 '16 at 17:05

This admittedly partial answer explains how fully and wholly are sometimes used differently from completely and totally.

fully, from The Free Dictionary (TFD)

  1. at least:

It was fully an hour before she came.

Fully half of the volunteers did not appear

In these two examples, wholly, completely and totally would not be used.

wholly, from The Free Dictionary

  1. Exclusively; solely

Examples, from The Free Dictionary:

THE members of the School Board in Doosnoswair being suspected of appointing female teachers for an improper consideration, the people elected a Board composed wholly of women Ambrose Bierce)

I believe that the stuff of our mental life, as opposed to its relations and structure, consists wholly of sensations and images (Bertrand Russell)

In these two examples, one might possibly use one of the other three words, but the context calls for a word that means exclusively.

completely TFD and totally TFD

I find nothing in The Free Dictionary that totally, completely, wholly, fully or satisfactorily distinguishes these two words from each other or from the first two. This includes searching TFD's list of quotations from literature. There are undoubtedly nuances that I have totally missed.

Addendum re totally and completely:

To my ear, totally sounds like a word that would be preferred to completely by a teenager, especially in a sentence ending with a ! or a !! Example: OMG, did I totally, but totally, screw up the exam!! It just doesn't have the same ring with completely. I have support for this from The Urban Dictionary, which is a far from fully accepted source on this site.

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