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Specially vs. Especially: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Published on November 18, 2023
"Specially" refers to a specific purpose or way, while "Especially" denotes emphasis, singling out, or to a greater degree.

Key Differences

"Specially" and "Especially" are often used interchangeably, but they have nuanced differences in meaning and usage. "Specially" is typically used to describe something done for a specific purpose or in a particular manner. On the other hand, "Especially" is employed to single out one or more members from a group or to emphasize their importance or relevance.
In some contexts, "Specially" indicates a tailored or customized action. For example, when something is "specially designed," it is made with a particular purpose or person in mind. Meanwhile, "Especially" often underscores a significant distinction or greater degree. For instance, a dish that is "especially spicy" stands out for its heat among other dishes.
From a grammatical perspective, both "Specially" and "Especially" function as adverbs. However, their placements in sentences can vary. While "Especially" can often start a sentence to provide emphasis, "Specially" is more commonly found within sentences to elucidate a specific purpose.
Clarifying their differences further, consider the sentence, "The room was decorated specially for the event." Here, "specially" tells us there was a distinct purpose for the decoration. If we say, "Especially in winter, he loved the room's warmth," "especially" emphasizes the particular time he enjoyed the room's coziness most.

Comparison Chart

Main Use

For a specific purpose or way
Emphasis or to a greater degree

Typical Contexts

Customized actions, tailored situations
Highlighting importance, singling out, distinctions

Grammatical Function

Both are adverbs
Both are adverbs

Sentence Placement

More common within sentences
Can start a sentence or be within

Example Use

"Specially designed"
"Especially spicy"

Specially and Especially Definitions


In a particular manner.
She sang specially for her fans.


Used to single out one member of a group.
Everyone enjoyed the party, especially Jane.


With a specific intent.
The gift was specially chosen for her.


To a greater extent or degree.
He loves fruits, especially apples.


In a distinguished or exceptional manner.
The chef prepared the meal specially for the guests.


For the very reason that.
Be careful, especially since the roads are slippery.


Surpassing what is common or usual; exceptional
A special occasion.
A special treat.


The dessert was delicious, especially the chocolate cake.


Distinct among others of a kind
A special type of paint.
A special medication for arthritis.


Above all.
The car runs great, especially on highways.


His special satisfaction comes from volunteer work.


To an extent or degree deserving of special emphasis; particularly.


Peculiar to a specific person or thing; particular
My own special chair.
The special features of a computer.


(manner) In a special manner; specially.


Having a limited or specific function, application, or scope
A special role in the mission.


(focus) Particularly; to a greater extent than is normal.


Arranged for a particular occasion or purpose
A special visit from her daughter.


(focus) Used to place greater emphasis upon someone or something.
Invite them all, especially Molly.


Regarded with particular affection and admiration
A special friend.


In an especial manner; chiefly; particularly; peculiarly; in an uncommon degree.


Additional; extra
A special holiday flight.


To a distinctly greater extent or degree than is common;
He was particularly fussy about spelling
A particularly gruesome attack
Under peculiarly tragic circumstances
An especially (or specially) cautious approach to the danger


Something arranged, issued, or appropriated to a particular service or occasion
Rode to work on the commuter special.


In a special manner;
A specially arranged dinner


A featured attraction, such as a reduced price
A special on salmon.


A single television production that features a specific work, a given topic, or a particular performer.


For a special purpose, person, or occasion.
We had this cake made specially for your birthday.
The train is waiting specially for a high-ranking diplomat.
The school is specially for any child whose schooling was disrupted by illness.


(proscribed) extremely
She's specially good at running.


(proscribed) in particular
I love all animals, specially cute furry ones.


In a special manner; particularly; especially.


For a particular purpose; as, a meeting of the legislature is specially summoned.


In a special manner;
A specially arranged dinner


To a distinctly greater extent or degree than is common;
He was particularly fussy about spelling
A particularly gruesome attack
Under peculiarly tragic circumstances
An especially (or specially) cautious approach to the danger


For a distinct purpose.
This tool was made specially for carving.


To meet individual requirements.
The shoes were specially fitted.


Can "Especially" be used to emphasize a point?

Yes, "Especially" is often used for emphasis, such as "The cake was delicious, especially the frosting."

What does "Specially" typically denote?

"Specially" often denotes something done for a specific purpose or in a particular manner.

Are "Specially" and "Especially" synonyms?

They are similar in meaning, but they have distinct nuances and aren't always interchangeable.

Can I start a sentence with "Especially"?

Yes, "Especially" can start a sentence to highlight a particular point or contrast.

Is "Especially" about exception or emphasis?

It's about emphasis, but it can also single out exceptions or specific cases from a group.

Can "Specially" indicate a custom-made item?

Yes, it can. For instance, "The dress was specially tailored for her."

Is "Especially good" a correct usage?

Yes, it emphasizes the degree to which something is good.

Can both words be used as adverbs?

Yes, both "Specially" and "Especially" function as adverbs in sentences.

Is it correct to say "specially made for you"?

Yes, this means it was made with a particular person or purpose in mind.

Is it wrong to use "Especially" when referring to a specific purpose?

While "Specially" is more apt for a specific purpose, in casual speech, "Especially" might be used, though it's less precise.

How can I remember the difference between the two?

Think of "Especially" for emphasis and "Specially" for specificity.

Is "Specially designed" about a unique design?

Yes, it implies that the design was made for a specific purpose or criteria.

Is "Especially" more common in daily language?

Yes, "Especially" is generally more common because of its broader range of emphasis and distinction.

Which is more general in use: "Specially" or "Especially"?

"Especially" is more general and can often be used where "Specially" might not fit.

Can I use "Specially" to indicate a particular method?

Yes, like "He trained specially to master that technique."

In which situations should I avoid using "Especially"?

Avoid using "Especially" when you strictly mean "for a particular purpose"; use "Specially" instead.

Does "Especially for you" mean it's exclusive?

It suggests it was done with someone in mind, but not necessarily that it's exclusive.

How should I decide which word to use in my writing?

Consider the context: use "Especially" for emphasis or distinction and "Specially" for specific purpose or manner.

Can "Specially" and "Especially" be used interchangeably in poetry?

In poetry, rules are more flexible, so they might be used interchangeably based on rhythmic or stylistic needs.

Can I use "Specially" to highlight importance?

While "Specially" emphasizes purpose or method, "Especially" is better for highlighting importance.
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
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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