Angela’s ABCs: Words Sometimes Confused – Purposely and Purposefully

I’ve heard these two adverbs confused twice this week, so I decided it would be worth looking closely at their definitions:



Purposely means intentionally, deliberately, on purpose.  When you mean to do something, you do it purposely:

  • She crossed the road purposely because she didn’t want to have to speak to her ex-boyfriend.
  • The footballer purposely tripped up the goalkeeper so that the ball would go into the net.




Purposefully means with a strong sense of purpose, or with determination and intent.  When you are determined to do something, you do it purposefully.

  • She purposefully set about writing a full account of what had happened while it was fresh in her mind.
  • Determined not to get involved in the fight, he walked purposefully in the opposite direction.







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