Most of the usage of "matter-of-factly" that I've seen is to describe a manner of speaking - "He said, matter of factly,...", etc.

A friend brought up the following usage, which seems wrong, but I can't pinpoint exactly what is wrong. "Matter of factly, I don't know. I know from my dad's experience."

What's the view on this?

Couple of points:

  • The adjective form "As a matter of fact, I don't know. ..." seems correct.
  • Similar usage of literally works: "I literally don't know." or "Literally, I don't know"
  • I have seen usage of ''matter of factly '' in a lot of Danielle Steel's novels. – user89687 Aug 28 '14 at 21:13

The issue with the second usage is that "matter-of-factly" means "in a matter-of-fact style"; it is not synonymous with "as a matter of fact". "As a matter of fact" is by itself already an adverbial phrase (meaning "actually"); tacking an additional -ly on the end to re-adverbialize it can't be right.

I'd be more inclined to express your friends' apparent intended meaning as "I don't know personally" or "I don't know directly".

  • Thanks Hellion, "As a matter of fact" meaning "actually" makes sense, and comparing it with the adverb form is where I was going wrong. – ak86 Jan 20 '11 at 11:16

I've never heard it, and BYU's COCA has but one example of it (and q.v., as I'm not sure even it's in this sense). So, short answer, maybe it's an up-and-coming usage or maybe it's a one-off your friend heard, but in any event don't put it in your written work — yet.

protected by tchrist Aug 29 '14 at 1:38

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