Between truly and truely, “truly” is the only correct spelling to use.
What is the difference between truely and truly?
“Truely” is a common misspelling of “truly,” the adverbial form of true (an adjective). Writers often confuse the two spellings because “true” ends with the word -e-.
While several adjectives retain their full spelling as adverbs, this isn’t the case with “truly.” We see similar spelling patterns with words like “crumble” (verb) and “crumbly” (adjective) or “bubble” (verb and noun) and bubbly (adjective).
PS: If you’re signing off on formal letters, the correct phrase to use is “yours truly,” not “yours truely.”
What is the definition of truly?
The word truly is an adverb, meaning it modifies verbs, adjectives, phrases, and other adverbs to express sincerity, seriousness, truth, certainty, agreement, and more. Specific definitions and examples include:
#1. In a truthful or accurate manner. For example,
- “Thoreau wrote truly.”
- “The journalist reported the news truly.”
Synonyms: Candidly, frankly, honestly, truthfully, openly.
Similar phrasing: Laying one’s cards on the table.
#2. In all sincerity or seriousness; to tell the truth (used to emphasize). For example,
- “Truly, I didn’t know you could write so well.”
- “This punch is truly a treat to drink.”
- “Truly, your family is wonderful.”
- “She is truly sorry.”
Synonyms: Actually, admittedly, frankly, genuinely, heartily, honestly, indeed, profoundly, really, sincerely, truthfully, verily.
Similar phrasing: As a matter of fact, from the bottom of one’s heart, in actuality, in fact, in reality, in truth, to be sure.
#3. Indeed; not merely this but also. For example,
- “She is a smart, truly beautiful mother.”
- “The new job is a foreign, truly different situation altogether.”
Synonyms: Even, indeed, nay, verily, yea.
Similar phrasing: In fact, in reality, in truth.
#4. To the fullest degree; genuinely or properly. For example,
- “To truly understand, you must study every day.”
- “The students are not truly prepared.”
Synonyms: Accurately, closely, correctly, exactly, faithfully, precisely.
#5. Absolutely or completely (as a submodifier). For example,
- “Pop music these days is truly dreadful.”
- “Mother’s cooking is truly perfection.”
Synonyms: Absolutely, beyond, completely, perfectly, positively, really, simply, thoroughly, totally, utterly.
#6. In actual fact or without doubt; really. For example,
- “Peppa Pig is truly the best kids show on television.”
- “I’m so grateful for you, truly, and I can’t thank you enough.”
- “You are truly the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.”
Synonyms: Actually, certifiably, certainly, clearly, definitely, genuinely, inarguably, indeed, indisputably, really, surely, undeniably, undoubtedly, unquestionably, very.
Similar phrasing: Beyond doubt, beyond question, beyond the shadow of a doubt, damn well, for certain, for sure, hands down, without a doubt.
#7. Loyally or faithfully (archaic). For example,
- “All pets should be cared for truly.”
- “He loved his wife truly.”
Etymology of truly
According to Lexico, the word truly originates from Old English trēowlīce (meaning ‘faithfully’).
How to use truly in a sentence?
Since “truly” is an adverb, there are a few grammar rules to note before writing your first sentence.
#1. Using truly to modify adjectives or adverbs
If “truly” refers to an adjective or adverb, make sure it comes before the word it modifies. For example,
- “The history of western philosophy is truly boring.” (adjective)
- “Such philosophies are truly dreadful, aren’t they?” (adjective)
- “Those cookies smell truly delightful.” (adjective)
- “The teacher’s new questions are truly easy.” (adjective)
- “The newsletter is truly painstakingly long.” (adverb + adjective)
- “Serious writers are truly too hardworking.” (adverb + adjective)
#2. Using truly to modify verbs
When adverbs modify verbs, they typically appear after the verb in a sentence. However, when “truly” functions as a “focusing adverb” (words that emphasize the manner of an action), we place it before the main verb. For example,
- “I truly wanted to read Shakespeare.”
- “Man, he truly messed up on that graph, didn’t he?”
- “She truly memorized the Dictionary of the English Language.”
- “The ad truly deviates from the website’s main topic.”
#3. Using truly as an interjection
The adverb “truly” often appears as an interjection to express astonishment, gratitude, or any emphasized description. In this case, make sure “truly” is separated from the main clause by commas or similar punctuation marks. For example,
- “I would love to receive Bloomberg, truly, but I’d rather subscribe to the Washington Post.”
- “You are all so kind, truly, but I must be on my way.”
#4. Using truly as a viewpoint adverb
Lastly, the word “truly” can appear as a viewpoint adverb to express the author’s perspective outside of the main clause. In this case, “truly” occurs before or after the sentence (separated by commas). For example,
- “Truly, we had no idea that the spelling of words was so complicated.”
- “You did your best, truly.”
- “Truly, we wish you the best.”
- “You should be there, truly.”
How to remember the difference between truely and truly?
To remember the difference between “truly” and “truely,” try to associate the letter -e- with the word “error.”
- “Truly” is the only accepted spelling of this word.
- “Truely” with an -e- is an “error.”
Additional reading for truely vs. truly
Do you love learning about tricky English words? If so, be sure to check out the following grammar lessons from The Word Counter:
- Apologize vs. apologise?
- Imbedded vs. embedded?
- Imminent vs. eminent?
- Nauseous vs. nauseated?
- Phenomenon vs. phenomena?
Test how well you understand the difference between truly vs. truely with the following multiple-choice questions.
- True or false?: In American English, “truely” is an alternative spelling of the word “truly.”
- ___________ are variant spellings of words like “truly” and “truely.”
d. None of the above
- Which of the following is not an informal or formal definition of “truly”?
a. In an honest manner
b. Without credibility
c. To the fullest degree
d. Without a doubt
- “Truly” stems from which root word?
- Which of the following is never a synonym of “truly”?
d. None of the above
- “Adverbs: types.” Cambridge Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 2021.
- “Truly.” Lexico, Oxford University Press, 2021.
- “Truly.” The Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2021.
- “Truly.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., 2021.
- “Viewpoint and commenting adverbs.” Resources for learning English, Education First, 2021.