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Fortunately vs. Unfortunately: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on October 7, 2023
Fortunately expresses a favorable condition or occurrence; unfortunately denotes something regrettable or unfavorable has occurred.

Key Differences

“Fortunately” and “unfortunately” are adverbs used to convey the tone or mood of a situation, reflecting its positive or negative aspects respectively. “Fortunately” is used to introduce statements that express luck, relief, or a favorable outcome in a situation, implying that the outcome is advantageous or positive. Conversely, “unfortunately” is used to express regret, disappointment, or unfavorable circumstances, implying the occurrence of something undesirable or negative.
While “fortunately” brings a sense of optimism and positive conclusion to the sentence, providing a hopeful or relieving context, “unfortunately” conversely implies a degree of pessimism or undesirable outcome, introducing a sense of loss, detriment, or unfavorable conditions in the statement. The usage of “fortunately” often brings a mood of joy and relief to the reader or listener, while the usage of “unfortunately” can evoke feelings of sadness, regret, or sympathy.
“Fortunately” can be considered as the positive counterpart to “unfortunately,” being its antonym. When one uses “fortunately,” they are focusing on the favorable aspects or outcomes of a situation, highlighting the positive elements. In contrast, when one uses “unfortunately,” the focus shifts to the unfavorable, negative, or detrimental aspects of a situation, emphasizing the adverse outcomes or conditions.
Both adverbs, while opposite in meaning, are integral in expressing contrasting emotions or outcomes in language. They offer a concise way to convey the favorable or unfavorable nature of circumstances or events, allowing for clear communication of one’s thoughts or feelings on a matter. The contextual positioning of “fortunately” and “unfortunately” can significantly impact the perception and interpretation of the conveyed message, highlighting the importance of their appropriate usage.

Comparison Chart


Positive, favorable.
Negative, unfavorable.

Mood Elicited

Optimism, relief, joy.
Pessimism, regret, disappointment.

Contextual Use

Expresses favorable conditions or occurrences.
Denotes regrettable or unfavorable occurrences.

Emotional Impact

Brings a sense of hope and satisfaction.
Evokes feelings of sadness and sympathy.


Highlights the positive aspects or outcomes of a situation.
Emphasizes the adverse or negative aspects of a situation.

Fortunately and Unfortunately Definitions


By good fortune; luckily.
Fortunately, the weather was clear, allowing for a pleasant journey.


Introducing a negative occurrence.
Unfortunately, there was a power outage during the presentation.


Expressing favorable conditions.
Fortunately, we arrived on time to catch the flight.


Suggesting an adverse outcome.
Unfortunately, the damage was extensive and costly.


Indicating relief or a sense of luck.
Fortunately, the lost documents were recovered.


Expressing unfavorable conditions or outcomes.
Unfortunately, we missed the last train home.


Introducing a positive occurrence.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident.


By bad luck; regrettably.
Unfortunately, the event was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.


Suggesting a beneficial outcome.
Fortunately, the damage was minimal and easily repairable.


Indicating disappointment or detriment.
Unfortunately, the team couldn’t secure a victory.


Bringing something good and unforeseen; auspicious.


Having bad luck; unlucky.


Having unexpected good fortune; lucky.


Characterized by, bringing, or causing misfortune
An unfortunate turn of events.


One who has good fortune, especially a wealthy person.


Regrettable; deplorable
An unfortunate lack of good manners.


In a fortunate manner. en


A victim of bad luck.


It is (or was, etc) fortunate that.
Fortunately for Sam, his pet hamster was alive.


Happening through bad luck, or because of some unfortunate event.
The houses which burned down could have been saved. Unfortunately, the fire truck had broken down on the way.


In a fortunate manner; luckily; successfully; happily.


By bad luck;
Unfortunately it rained all day
Alas, I cannot stay


By good fortune;
Fortunately the weather was good


Does fortunately bring a sense of optimism?

Yes, fortunately often brings a sense of optimism and positive conclusion to a sentence.

Can unfortunately evoke feelings of sadness or sympathy?

Yes, unfortunately can evoke feelings of sadness, sympathy, or disappointment.

Is unfortunately synonymous with regrettably?

Yes, unfortunately can be synonymous with regrettably, expressing regret or disappointment.

Can unfortunately introduce a sense of loss or detriment?

Yes, unfortunately introduces a sense of loss, detriment, or unfavorable conditions.

Can fortunately indicate a sense of luck or favorableness?


Does the use of unfortunately focus on the detrimental aspects of a situation?

Yes, unfortunately emphasizes the negative or detrimental aspects of a situation.

Do fortunately and unfortunately have opposite meanings?

Yes, fortunately expresses favorable conditions, while unfortunately denotes unfavorable conditions.

Can fortunately express relief?

Yes, fortunately can express relief, luck, or a favorable outcome.

Is fortunately used to highlight positive elements in a situation?

Yes, fortunately is used to highlight positive aspects or favorable outcomes in a situation.

Does unfortunately always imply a negative outcome?

Yes, unfortunately always implies a negative, regrettable, or adverse outcome.

Can fortunately be synonymous with luckily?

Yes, fortunately can be synonymous with luckily, expressing good fortune or favorableness.

Can fortunately suggest a beneficial or advantageous situation?

Yes, fortunately can suggest a beneficial, advantageous, or positive situation.

Does fortunately convey a positive emotional impact?

Yes, fortunately often conveys a positive emotional impact, expressing hope and satisfaction.

Does unfortunately imply unfavorable circumstances?

Yes, unfortunately implies unfavorable, adverse, or regrettable circumstances.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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