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Especially Vs. Specially

November 6, 2014

I wrote this blog post especially for you...

The idiom lessons in our new Detective Series 2 sure are inspiring a lot of blog posts! First there was Compliment Vs. Complement, and now this one on "especially" and "specially," with more coming soon.

Especially and specially are two commonly confused words that I've heard class after class of students make mistakes with. The most common mistake I hear is students using specially when they mean especially. Also, I've heard many of my Spanish students use especially instead of specially because there is almost always an 'e' before words beginning with an 's' in Spanish. These tricky words are definitely worth reviewing with your English language learners!


Especially is an adverb that means very or particularly.

  • Those guys, especially Jim and Steve, are not invited to my party.
  • You're looking especially lovely today.
  • It was so hot, especially once the sun came out.


Specially is an adverb that means in a special manner.

  • My coworkers treat her specially because she's the CEO's daughter.


There is one instance when either adverb can be used, and that's when the meaning is specifically. Even so, note that especially is the preferred (more common) choice in most parts of the world.

  • I baked this cake especially/specially for you.

  • Our teacher prepared this lesson especially/specially for our class.


  • The word especially is more common than the word specially, so when in doubt, especially is the best guess.
  • Remember that specially is the adverb form of the adjective special, so it works best in a sentence where the meaning of special is possible.
  • It's important to remember that using specially when especially is the correct choice sounds really wrong to native speakers, so be careful!

To see these words in context, and for more practice, try this lesson in our idioms series: Detective Series 2, Episode #11.

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Comments (4)

Indrani G.(Teacher)

Hi Tanya,

Though all the topics are good, this blog was especially helpful. :))
Thanks for writing and sharing such good stuff.

Reply to Comment

Tanya Trusler(Author)

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Indrani! I appreciate it. And nice use of 'especially'! :)

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