Trully v/s Truely v/s Truly: Which One Is Right?

This is a fun post. I occasionally indulge in amusing posts like this to take a break from my usual trope – Psychology and Philosophy of Happiness.

Did you mean: truly?

That’s what Google asks when you search for “trully.” So, it is truly or truely or trully?

It is TRULY, truly! Truly is the only correct spelling of this word.

Almost 20% of people make this mistake: they misspell truly! Straight up, it’s plain wrong to write TRULLY or TRUELLY.

So, for all eternity, let it be known that the only correct version of “truly” is TRULY.

Truly is an adverb that comes from True (an adjective).


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Trully vs Truly
Even Shakespeare wrote “truely”

Normally, we simply add -ly to turn an adjective into an adverb, like quick to quickly, polite to politely, and complete/absolute to completely/absolutely.

But TRULY loses its “e” when we add “ly” because that’s an evolution that happened in the 1700s.

Even Shakespeare wrote the word as “truely,” as was customary in Middle English.

Claudius: “Thou think’st I am in sport, I pray thee tell me truely how thou lik’st her.”

— Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakepeare 1623

The word transformed into our modern “truly” since the publication of Samuel Johnson’s “A Dictionary of the English Language” in 1755. Encyclopædia Britannica writes of it:

Johnson’s accomplishment was to provide for the English language a dictionary that incorporated with skill and intellectual power the prevailing ideals and resources and the best available techniques of European lexicography.

Truly means “in a manner that is most certainly true, or in an honest or truthful way.” As in:

Marcus Aurelius was the noblest of all Roman Emperors of his, or any other, age.”

Loosely, it may be used to mean “to a large extent,” as a replacement word for extremely, totally, utterly, majorly, and awfully. As in the sentence:

Video by HIP.

It was a truly amazing work by the most notorious American gangster of Italian origin.

Truly has these common synonyms:

Really. Surely. Clearly. Actually. Exactly. Sincerely. Genuinely. Certainly. Definitely. Absolutely. Truthfully.

If you wished to replace the adverb with a non-ly phrase that ends with a noun, you might choose: in truth, in fact, beyond question, without doubt, beyond doubt (or the lengthy beyond the shadow of a doubt), to your face, with all my heart, to be honest, to tell you the truth.

Don’t imagine Al Capone saying this of his wife:

“I can truly say that my wife is an angel who preserves her beatific smiles for me.”

Again, don’t imagine Al Capone saying that to his guests:

“These are truly vegan dishes, and no animals were hurt during their preparation.”

Let me guess you won’t be imagining Al Capone telling you how he hates his nickname “Scarface” while he’s brandishing his pistol to a trembling you tied to a chair:

“I don’t think you truly understand my emotions.”

Finally, Truly is also a surname, though quite rare.

A truly notable guy in this league was Richard Harrison Truly, who became an astronaut for NASA in 1969 and flew the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-2) to space in November 1981, the first crewed spacecraft to be re-flown in space. His second space flight was in August 1983 as commander of Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-8), the program’s first night launch and landing.

I wonder how much fun the Truly surname family has when they sign off letters and emails with Yours Truly!

Truly, that is all I got to know!

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Author Bio: Written by Sandip Roy—a medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental health, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).


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