The Red Pen: “Definitely” vs. “Defiantly”

We Need to Talk About Grammar is a weekly feature in which I complain about grammatical mistakes I encounter all too often. Feel free to commiserate below, and check out the archives here!


Now, this is more of a general rant rather than a lesson because I know none of MY friends, real life or virtual, would even think of using “defiantly” when they mean “definitely.” But just for a quick review:

Definitely – Without doubt.

Defiantly – Characterized by defiance.

I’m not quite sure why people find definitely so difficult to spell correctly, but it must be in the top ten misspelled words I see on a regular basis. Most people either go for the completely different word defiantly or the non-word definately. If you have trouble spelling “definitely,” just remember that it contains the word “finite,” and you’ll never spell it definately (or defiantly, ugh) ever again.

For a quick laugh, click here for a Hall of Shame listing the most egregious “definitely” errors.

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One thought on “The Red Pen: “Definitely” vs. “Defiantly”

  1. The “finite” trick is exactly what I taught Dan, he could never remember. (He never made the defiantly mistake, he’d just type until the right one came up)

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