I want to say,

Your situation is, without exaggerating, more severe than mine.

However, I want to replace "without exaggerating" with an adverb. Something like "undoubtedly".

Now I know the word "unexaggeratedly" has not been born yet, and that I can always use the same sentence I mentioned above, but I love using adverbs in this fashion. I'm curious to know if there's an antonym for the word "exaggeratedly".


I absolutely appreciate anyone taking time to answer and comment. I read the answers, and I accepted @Boneist's answer. But then I thought, that actually doesn't answer my question. I needed a single word (an adverb in this case) to state and refute the idea of exaggeration.

  • unarguably means:

    it cannot be argued

  • unquestionably means:

    not questionable

Both of these do not refute exaggeration.

Same goes for other answers as well, namely, the most up-voted answer so far by @Ubi hatt:

  • actually means:

    As the truth or facts of a situation; really.

    It has nothing to do with exaggeration!

Now, I don't want to invent words (i.e. unexaggeratedly, as suggested by @Toothrot). But maybe that's the only option?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – tchrist
    Commented Apr 27, 2019 at 20:14

19 Answers 19


There are couple of good suggestion already given to you. I will add my bit as well. I'd like to suggest the word actually.

Actually (adverb) Oxford Dictionary

As the truth or facts of a situation; really.

That this situation continues and is actually getting worse is simply not good enough

So, your sentence can be rewritten as follows:

Your situation is actually more severe than mine.


Etymologically exaggeration means "unreasonable or extravagant amplification," 1560s, from Latin exaggerationem.

Further, exaggeratedly is an adverb of the noun exaggeration. According to Oxford dictionary "exaggeration" means "a statement that represents something as better or worse than it really is" i.e. a statement or an idea presented in a blowout proportion.

So, something representing opposite to exaggerated should be unexaggerated which in-fact means: Not exaggerated, overblown, or unrealistic.

But, we know that the adverb unexaggeratedly (which you are looking for) does not exist.

So, in that case the idea representing something as "without exaggerating" or not overblown or unrealistic should be actual. Actual according to Oxford dictionary means "Existing in fact; real". An adverb of the word actual is actually. It means "truth or facts of a situation" i.e. something represented without exaggeration.

  • 1
    This usage is, IMO, incorrect. The fact that 'actually' is a parenthetical means that it's a correction rather than the definition you supplied. I can't make an edit which just removes the commas because edits need to be 6 characters. Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 15:48
  • 1
    Your update was very helpful, appreciate it. Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 18:29
  • @AmirA.Shabani that's great. Please remove unwanted part from your update section. It may cause confusion to future readers.
    – Ubi.B
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 18:34
  • Wouldn't that be more confusing? Because your update was a response to my update. And the act of accepting means that the problem I stated in my update has been solved. Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 18:37
  • 1
    @Rich Good that you found unexaggeratedly on wikitionary. I found it on wikitionary much before you did. But, unfortunately almost all standard dictionaries: M-W, Oxfords, Collins, Cambridge etc. does not recognize unexaggeratedly as a word. Thus, making it a dubious word to use. Specially, if you are using such a word for academic purposes then, it is mandatory that you use the words which are part of standard dictionaries and easily recognized without them being caught by little red squiggly line.
    – Ubi.B
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 21:04

I would use


: in a way that uses the ordinary or primary meaning of a term or expression

// He took the remark literally.

Here's an example from Reverso.context.net:

"Don't take it literally. He is inclined to exaggerate."

According to Oxford English Dictionary:

In its standard use literally means ‘in a literal sense, as opposed to a non-literal or exaggerated sense’, as for example in "I told him I never wanted to see him again, but I didn't expect him to take it literally."

  • 36
    the trouble is that the word literally is literally overused for everything and no longer really has that meaning.
    – WendyG
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 9:47
  • 6
    @WendyG Agreed, but I still think that literally is one of the best common words to use. It depends on the context.
    – moltarze
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 10:01
  • 10
    It is pretty clear from context when literally is used literally and when it is used figuratively.
    – user323578
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 11:10
  • 5
    -1. This usage is too unclear. Strangely, the 2nd definition in your cited link says: " : in effect : virtually —**used in an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible**" Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 19:26
  • @JamesRandom it literally isn't clear.
    – VLAZ
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 7:00

Saying "your situation is, undoubtedly, more severe than mine" would mean that there is absolutely no doubt that your friend's situation is more severe than yours. The meaning of this adverb is pretty straightforward. It simply means without doubt or certainly. It's a very common, everyday word.

  • 3
    This word is unexaggeratedly more prevalent, and when thinking about the reader, it's certainly more readable.
    – Rich
    Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 20:19

I would use simply:

1 a : without ambiguity : CLEARLY
1 b : without embellishment : PLAINLY
// eats simply to keep alive
// simply cleaned it up and went to bed
— Garrison Keillor
// the concert was simply marvellous
—often used as an intensive
// simply crawling with geniuses
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

As you can see, there are a lot of synonyms for simply. Of those, I think that both clearly and plainly would also be good choices for your sentence.


I would go with Unarguably (or inarguably, depending on your personal preference).

Your situation is unarguably more severe than mine.

Or, perhaps, Unquestionably.

Your situation is unquestionably more severe than mine.

I think I'd stick with unarguably, though; that sounds better to my ears.

  • 4
    I would say inarguably sounds more correct to my ears than unarguably, though Merriam-Webster lists both inarguable and unarguable as antonyms of arguable. (merriam-webster.com/dictionary/arguable)
    – qdread
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 13:00
  • 1
    @qdread Maybe it’s location specific? I’m in the UK, and “unarguably” is what I’m used to using.
    – Boneist
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 13:03

How about "Your situation is, I shit you not, more severe than mine"?

Urban Dictionary:

The expression means I am being honest.

When someone tells the truth about something usually unbelievable.

  • 2
    It's vulgar for sure, but sometimes vulgarity hammers a point home better than more polite euphemisms.
    – Wes Sayeed
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 17:14
  • 4
    Hmm, maybe "unshittingly"
    – Zebrafish
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 17:49
  • 9
    Or I kid you not as a less vulgar alternative
    – 0xFEE1DEAD
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 19:26
  • 2
    people on this site definitely have a better sense of humor than people on Stack Overflow :)))) I appreciate that Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 5:14
  • Well done. You hit the nail on the head.
    – WS2
    Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 23:08

I would use definitely. With this, there is no exaggeration or "unexageration" as you say. It just is.

Your situation is definitely more severe than mine.

But if you are searching for a phrase, then I would go with without a doubt

Your situation is, without a doubt, more severe than mine.

Since they are used in everyday conversation, I feel that these would be best fit for many situations.


You might want to use:


2. In a way that is accurate and true to life.

So, your sentence might be written as follows:

Your situation is, realistically, more severe than mine.

I would think that, in your particular usage, it would draw some similarities between the other person's situation and yours, but wouldn't try to benchmark the severeness of it.


I would use certainly or indeed.

Your situation is certainly more severe than mine.

Your situation is indeed more severe than mine.

But if adverbial phrases are okay with you, I'd opt for 'as it is'.

Your situation, as it is, is more severe than mine.


Without knowing the exact situation, I'd personally go with truly.

It suggests both truth & accuracy, but it hasn't been misused as a few other suggestions have been, so less likely to be interpreted as condescending.

It also doesn't suggest extremes. Unarguably and Unquestionably can be good choices for when the comparisons aren't close, but if they are, I'd go with truly instead.



Your situation is, seriously, more severe than mine.

Also the informal word "legit", although listed in most dictionaries only as an adjective, is also used as an adverb. Being quite informal a dictionary probably should not be your guide on how it's commonly used, but Oxford Living Dictionaries and Wiktionary do list it as an adverb. In this case I guess it might be a flat adverb, like "safe" in "drive safe".

(slang) Honestly; truly; seriously.
He legit thinks he can pass the test on zero sleep.
That legit scared the hell out of me.


The word legit is used to mean 'literally' in utterances like 'I am legit going to fail this test'.
Working with English Grammar: An Introduction (2018)

  • 3
    FWIW the proper form of the adverb "legit" is "legitimately". Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 19:11

Consider sincerely, from M-W

in a sincere or truthful way : with truth, genuineness, or straightforwardness

"Your situation is more severe than mine, sincerely." Or "Your situation is, sincerely, more severe than mine.". With a special pause/emphasis around the word.

Edit: Sincerely isn't the best choice for that exact usage, but I wanted to mention it because I think it's a perfect word for most other situations, especially where you might otherwise sound sarcastic, or just like a general nice-ity but you want to make sure they know you're not just saying it to say it. ("Oh, that dress sincerely looks great on you!" or something like that).


To answer the question properly, one must supply an adverb whose meaning is the opposite of 'exaggerate'.

To 'not exaggerate' is to speak plainly.

Plainly : Without ornament or embellishment, simply; without luxury or excess, modestly, frugally.


Your situation is, plainly, more severe than mine.


I am late to answer, but this is my first answer :)

In the given situation, I would prefer the word irrefutably.

Your situation is irrefutably more severe than mine.


  • The word irrefutably means that it cannot be disproved. It does not state that I'm not exaggerating. Also, the link you provided differs from the word you suggested. Commented Apr 18, 2019 at 16:24



Your situation is, without exaggerating, more severe than mine.

means that your situation does not exaggerate. You want to make yourself the subject of the exaggerating:

Your situation is, without my exaggerating, more severe than mine.

Now: the only adverb that may replace the without clause without changing the meaning of the sentence is


The notion that this is not "formal" or not quite all right so long as it is not in a dictionary is misguided. Nor is it right here to speak of ''inventing words''. The -ly ending is productive: it can generally be attached to adjectives to produce adverbs. The same is true of un-. (You seem to recognize 'exaggeratedly'). Speaking of ''invention'' here is like saying that a sentence that cannot be found by Google is an ''invented sentence'' and therefore not proper English.

  • I think "without exaggerating" correctly implies that it's I who's trying not to exaggerate. However, if I were to explicitly mention that, shouldn't I say "without my exaggeration" or "without me exaggerating"? The "without my exaggerating" seems a bit odd to me! BTW, +1 for sticking to unexaggeratedly :)))) I am warming up to it. However it's not fun when there's a red line under it, indicating that it's not correct. Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 14:31
  • 1
    @AmirA.Shabani, just turn off auto-correct! for my exaggerating, see Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage, under illiteracies.
    – Toothrot
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 14:36
  • 1
    @Toothrot Sure, not every valid word is in the dictionary, but you might want to do something to prove that it's precedented and nominally understood in the exactly the way you suggest it's used rather than simply invented on the spot. Adding some illustrative quotations and an ngram might help your answer considerably.
    – Tonepoet
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 16:46

Although I don't see them working well/at all in your sentence as written (with "is" being modified), understatedly, conservatively or (to the extent that it's a word), minimis/zingly could arguably qualify as antonyms of "exaggeratedly" (i.e., as synonyms of "unexaggeratedly") and possibly work ok in the following rewrite:

Your situation can be described, [even] conservatively/understatedly/minimis/zingly, as being more severe than mine.

(linked examples above from Pamphlet Architecture 29: Ambiguous spaces; Hemingway on War; and Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology;: The Skanda-Purāṇa (pts. 1-15, 19), respectively, all via Google Books)


I would naturally say:

"your situation is obviously worse than mine".

  • I think this language is much more realistic, especially in dialogue.
  • It instantly placates and soothes the other person.
  • This may or may not be technically accurate - e.g. perhaps their story is commonly regarded as false or exaggerated by others - BUT I am saying that to ME that they are definitely not exaggerating, and that they don't need to labour the point any more.
  • The other answers here are great, but too formal, so none of them would sound genuine to me as dialogue... they feel passive aggressive. It's as though they are all followed by "...BUT you're 'foo' so it won't be as much of a 'bar' for you (or insert other passive aggressive/diminishing/non-believing remark here) whereas 'obvious' has no recourse, or qualifier. If something is obvious then the onus of misunderstanding is laid on the intelligence of the observer, not on the 'foo' of the 'victim'.

Your situation is, truthfully, worse than mine. That would convey the idea that there was no exaggeration. However it sounds wrong and I want to add the word "speaking" after the adverb.



(of an action) in a manner that is not done in an exaggerated way to get people's attention.


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