The Language Nook – Le coin langues

Especially or specially?

by | 19 Aug 2023 | English Language

Especially and specially sound similar and can easily be misused. They can be close in meaning but can also have distinctive meanings, so it is important to learn how to use them correctly. 

Both especially and specially can be used to mean particularly, in particular. In such cases, they can be used interchangeably without much difference in meaning.

Here is an example:

  • It’s usually very sunny in this area, specially / especially in summer. → It’s usually very sunny in this area, particularly in summer.


However, these two words can also have slightly different meanings. Let’s look at how they may differ:



Especially is used to single out one particular item from a group or category.  It emphasises the exceptional nature of the item. In other words, it indicates something is a noteworthy or particularly true example. You can use especially to highlight the significance or importance of a given item within a broader category. 

For example, in the sentence:

  • She loves animals, especially cats.

Here the word especially is used to introduce cats as an example and show that cats hold an exceptional place for her in the broader animal category.

It means, and can be replaced by the phrase  above all. Read the following examples and see how easy it is to change the word especially and say above all instead:

  • I love reading, especially historical novels.
  • He likes all colours, especially blue and red.
  • Her little brother loves all kinds of fruits, but he enjoys strawberries especially for their sweetness and colour.



Specially, on the other hand,  refers to something that is done for a specific purpose, in a unique or distinctive manner. It suggests that what you are talking about has been given special significance, setting it apart from something that would be more usual or general.

For example, in the sentence:

  • I baked a cake specially for your birthday.

Here, the cake was made for a specific purpose or situation, i.e.  the person’s birthday. 

Look at these examples and see how specially refers to a singular or specific situation or purpose:

  • This app is specially designed for young schoolchildren
  • He booked a holiday specially for his parents’ wedding anniversary. 
  • The teacher gave us a workbook specially written for English learners.



Here is a memo to help you remember how to choose between especially and specially:

Especially Specially
 Exceptional or Extra Example above all others Special Singular Situation, Specific purpose


There you are! You now know what difference there can be between the words especially and specially. Congratulations! 🙂


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