Usage of specially and especially

Hi There,

I hope someone can help me with above two words which I am in doubt almost every time when I wanted to use especially in my writing work. As soon as the necessity arises to use one of them, I really get confused. I don’t know whether these two words mean the same / there are different situation to use them or what is the right way to use them?

I read a quite lot these days, one of the reasons for that (reading) would be I am working very hard to become a good writer and improve my vocabulary. So when I read a magazine, news paper, book or any sort of reading materials, I often see some writer’s use the word ‘specially’ and others have used ‘especially’.

Pleases help me to clear the uncertainty.

Many thanks in advance.

This is a difficult question; it has been much debated by grammarians. I am not at all an expert, but to me the best definition of their difference is as follows.

Specially is used for the particular as opposed to the general, for limitation versus a broader sense; it could be replaced with “only” or “with one purpose only” without messing up meaning of the sentence completely - even though “only” would be much stronger than “specially”, and would often need to be at a different place in the sentence.

Especially is for the particular as opposed to the ordinary, for the striking versus the inconspicuous; it could be replaced with “most of all” in most cases.

To especially you could add “… but to a minor degree also in another way, or for another purpose”; to specially, you could not.

  • I made this dress specially for you: you gave me the order for this dress, and no-one else is going to use it.

  • I made this dress especially for you: I made it mainly for you, but to a small degree I also made it for someone else; there is a small chance your sister will wear it as well.

  • I came all the way from Canada specially for your wedding: I made this trip only for your wedding.

  • I came all the way from Canada especially for your wedding: I came mainly for your wedding, but also to a small degree for a visit to your sister.

Especially qualifies the words that follow it (unless another word is stressed in speech); specially rather qualifies the predicate, sentence as a whole:

  • The Queen came back specially from her vacation for this meeting.

  • The Queen came back from her vacation specially for this meeting.
    Both sentences mean the same.

  • The Queen came back especially from her vacation for this meeting: she also came back from another place (impossible).

  • The Queen came back from her vacation especially for this meeting: but also for other things.

In practice: when you are in doubt, use “especially” in most cases; use “specially” mainly in case someone does or makes something with one purpose only.