I am writing this article and my primary purpose/intention is to introduce the question that I am introducing, but the article develops so far as to suggest an answer to it. To show this point, what adverb is the best in the following sentence?

This paper is ... an attempt to introduce the question, but it goes so far as to suggest an answer to it.

The options that, after my research, I came up with as the best ones are as follows in order of preference:

 1. basically 
 2. in the first place 
 3. primarily

Which one is the best option. Each seems to me of a bit of ambiguity in this context. Besides, other suggestion as to the structure of the sentence are welcomed as well (maybe what I want to say can be said in a better way).

  • 2
    'Primarily' works fine (= 'The prime purpose of this paper is to ...). '... first and foremost ...' is also fine (or perhaps a shade hackneyed). 'Basically' is perhaps overworked, and can mean 'put simply', but is not incorrect here. Jun 24, 2017 at 20:26
  • ", at it's core," "purpose" (without even "primarily") can also make clear the central role that can be added to with the "but" ... although it would take some rewording around it to fit well.
    – Tom22
    Jun 24, 2017 at 23:45
  • @Tom22 You mean something like this: "This article an attempt to introduce the question as it's core purpose, but goes so far as to suggest an answer to it."?
    – Sasan
    Jun 25, 2017 at 0:30
  • I was thinking "This article, at it's core, is an attempt to introduce the question, but ..." but yes the way you use purpose is one way to rewrite it using "purpose" (I was thinking you could leave out "core' with purpose but you can use both for emphasis). BTW your new sentence would need to work on or admit the "an" .. this is veering into proofreading ... I was just offering other possibilities.
    – Tom22
    Jun 25, 2017 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


I suggest you avoid basically because it is so over-used in spoken English that it has become devalued in written English.

Primarily hits the spot perfectly in your example.

In the first place would require some reshuffling of the sentence, so that it becomes "This paper is an attempt to introduce the question in the first place, but...". Even so, it's nowhere nearly as clear as primarily.

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