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How to Use Especially vs. Specially Correctly

Smita Pandit Mar 1, 2020
More often than not, people tend to use the words 'specially' and especially' interchangeably. However, there is a slight difference between the two. This Penlighten post will tell you how and when these words should be used.

Here's a Trick!

While using especially in a sentence, check if it can be replaced by particularly. If yes, then the usage is right.

Example: I love to spend my time here, especially in summer.
The words 'specially' and 'especially' may sound similar, but that doesn't mean that they are synonyms. There's only a slight difference in the meaning of these words, but to be able to identify which one of these words needs to be used in a sentence, one needs to be aware of the particular conventions of use.
Basically, these words are adverbs. By definition, an adverb is a word that modifies something other than a noun. Specially and especially are both adverbs that modify the words 'special' and 'especial', respectively.
The major difference between specially and especially is that the former is used while referring to something with a special or distinct purpose, whereas the latter is used while giving emphasis or singling out a person, situation, or thing above all. Especially is considered to be more formal.

Meaning of Especially and Specially

According to the Oxford Dictionary, specially means:

• For a special purpose

On the other hand, especially means:

• To a great extent; very much
• Used to single out one person or thing above all others
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, specially means:

• For a special purpose
• To a special or unusual degree: particularly or especially
• In a special manner

On the other hand, especially is defined as:

• More than usually; used to indicate something that deserves special mention
• For a particular purpose or person

Especially Vs. Specially

There are times when using any of these words in a sentence might seem to be correct. However, one should abide by the conventions of use. In general, specially should be used when you are referring to something being done for a particular purpose.
However, especially should be used when you are emphasizing or singling out someone or something in particular, putting it above all. Though specially can also refer to something with a distinctive purpose, unlike especially, it doesn't emphasize on something or someone being more noteworthy or exceptional than others.
Here are two examples to explain this difference:
1. This serum is specially formulated for individuals affected by severe hair breakage.
2. She did especially well in the competition.

In the first example, 'specially' is used to explain the special purpose of the serum. In the second, 'especially' is used to illustrate the noteworthy performance of the girl.

Understanding the Meaning of Especially with Examples

The following examples will further explain the difference between these words:

1. This is an especially dangerous chemical.

2. This apartment is quite small to live in, especially if you have children and pets.
In the first example, the use of especially tells the reader that the chemical is more dangerous than the others, emphasizing on the higher degree of danger posed by the chemical, singling it out or putting it above others.
Similarly, in the second example, especially is used to imply that the house would be small to a greater extent, for a family with children and pets.

The use of 'specially' in place of 'especially' would not be correct in the aforementioned examples.
Here are a few examples to further explain the usage of especially.

♣ She loved the desserts, especially the pie.

♣ She chose the painting especially for her new home.

♣ They invited the professor especially because of his expertise.

♣ You should not drink, especially when you have to drive.
♣ Drunk driving has become a cause of serious concern, especially in teenage population.

♣ Cakes, especially chocolate cakes, are her weakness.

♣ The food here is quite inexpensive, especially baked goods.

♣ He was especially concerned about her deteriorating health.

♣ He is especially good at putting the blame on others.
♣ He bought the ring especially for her.

♣ We all are especially grateful for all the help we received from our friends.

♣ She loved watching movies, especially horror.

♣ He loves all his children, especially Martin.

♣ This was a heartfelt song, written especially for her.

♣ The car is quite small, especially if you have a big family.
♣ Children these days are very fashion-conscious, especially girls.

♣ I made this dish especially for you.

♣ Outdoor activities are especially important for growing children.

Understanding the Meaning of Specially with Examples

Let's move on to the usage of specially. Specially implies particularly, in a special manner, or for a particular purpose. Here are a few more examples to help you understand the right way to use specially.
♣ The house was specially built to resist earthquakes.

♣ Those dresses were specially designed for the wedding.

♣ The building was specially designed to make it easier for disabled individuals to move around.

♣ She had her wedding dress made specially by a reputed designer in France.
♣ The gear was specially designed at his request.

♣ The equipment has been specially flown in from England.

♣ The speech was written specially for the occasion.

♣ She treated her friends specially.

♣ I rented this costume specially for Halloween.

♣ She is following a specially designed diet plan.
On a concluding note, specially means 'in a particular manner' or 'for a special purpose', whereas 'especially' means 'particularly' or 'above all', and is used to single out someone or something, and emphasizing on their importance.