Inwardly vs. inside

English Grammar Error, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #14 [color=blue]“Great expectations…”, question 6

Mary remains very calm and cool on the outside but you can tell that internally she’s just as pleased as Dave.

(a) remains
(b) outside
© internally

English Grammar Error, Intermediate level

ESL/EFL Test #14 [color=blue]“Great expectations…”, answer 6

Mary remains very calm and cool on the outside but you can tell that inwardly she’s just as pleased as Dave.

Correct entry: inwardly
The error was: © internally

You have [color=green]found the error but your entry is [color=red]incorrect.
Mary remains very calm and cool on the outside but you can tell that inside she’s just as pleased as Dave.

Hi !

Can I also use “inside” here ?
(I have seen in a book the sentence “Inside, she’s really very shy” where “inside” is apparently used in the sense of “invardly”)

Thanks !!

Yes, I think you could.

Some people on the FreeNode IRC channel #wikipedia-en said “internally” and “inwardly” are both right.

And I also found this American Heritage sense entry for “internal”:

internal, adj.
4. Of or relating to mental or spiritual nature: “An internal sense of righteousness dwindles into an external concern for reputation” A.R. Gurney, Jr.

It is not a matter of what synonyms are possible here, bootedcat-- it is a matter of which word collocates usually or best in the sentence in natural English. This is where Googling can help you-- by locating the ways in which we usually say things (high collocations):

[i]I looked calm on the outside, but on the inside my emotions were all fighting for position

Strong on the inside, calm on the outside.

“I was calm on the outside, but on the inside, I was glowing.”

a fierce competitor on the inside but calm on the outside[/i]


I know conventions come first.

I agree that “inside” is very popular for this purpose, and in fact “on the inside” is the best candidate here because it is the perfect counterpart of “on the outside”, lexically, syntactically, semantically, and pragmatically.

What I want to point out is that “internally” in the original question is actually popular. See the result counts of these two Google searches:

“he is internally”: 25,500
“he is inwardly”: 792

Hi bootedcat

I think you neglected the quotation marks in your Google search for “he is internally” and that alters the number of search results dramatically: … tnG=Search



No, i didn’t.

Using your link, I still see 25,500.

Note that your search is with, while mine is with the original google ( … ernally%22

I also have Windows Me running inside VMWare; it returns 31,000.

That probably has something to do with my IP. I use a proxy with my native machine’s Firefox, while my virtual machine (Windows Me) is without proxy. Google automatically chooses a server near the visitor IP to serve the visitor, and different Google servers have slightly different versions of indexed data, but the result count contrast ratio for the same IP should be consistent.

Hi bootedcat

That’s very strange. My Google results (with quotes) were only 1330 (and still are). Without quotes I get 24,000.


You happen to be dealing with an extremely poor Google server, or your network environment might be censored/filtered. I asked someone on IRC:

can anyone do me a favor? search google for “he is internally” and “he is inwardly”, both with quotation marks, and tell me the result counts.
35,400 vs 804

You can ask a friend who’s in a distant country or ask on IRC for yourself.

Hi bootedcat

I checked my browser settings and they were set for “moderate” filtering. I changed it to “no filtering” and now I get a similar number of results as you do. I wonder if that tells us anything about the “internally” results… :lol:

Thanks for the info.


Google result counts are estimated and, if additional conditions such as “moderate filtering” is set, highly inaccurate.


I never dreamt when I wrote that test, it would generate such a googleania!


Sorry, Alan, I can’t resist… :slight_smile:

“I can resist anything but temptation”. © Oscar Wilde

35,400 for “he is internally”
23,400,000 for he is internally

804 for “he is inwardly”
2,660,000 for he is inwardly

And… what? :slight_smile:

By the way, the BNC has results for neither “he is internally” nor “he is inwardly”. Nothing! :shock:
So, what have we learned from all this?

Teacher knows best. :smiley: :lol: :wink:

Well, BNC does have a few results for “inwardly she” (as opposed to “he inwardly”.)[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, photographs: Rickshaws[YSaerTTEW443543]