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Supposably

Supposably is usually wrong; supposedly is usually the word you want. Find out which one you need.

By
Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read

 

It would be much easier if I could tell you that supposably isn't a word, but I can't. It is a word, but the problem is that supposably doesn't mean the same thing as supposedly and most people use it incorrectly.

The word you usually want is supposedly, which means roughly "assumed to be true" and almost always includes a hint of sarcasm or disbelief:

  • Supposedly, he canceled our date because of a family emergency.

  • She supposedly sent the check, but it was lost in the mail.

Supposably means "supposable," "conceivable," or "arguably." It is only a valid word in American English; the British wisely refuse to accept it.

 

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About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show.

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