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    #1

    really/truly

    Hi,
    I wonder if 'really' and 'truly' are fine to use in the sentences below when they mean "to emphasize something you are saying."

    1.We really/truly need that extra money.
    2.I really/truly don't mind.
    3.I'm absolutely fine, Dad - really/truly.
    4.Did she really/truly say that?
    5.There was a truly/really beautiful view from the
    window.

    Many thanks to you.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: really/truly

    Quote Originally Posted by thru View Post
    Hi,
    I wonder if 'really' and 'truly' are fine to use in the sentences below when they mean "to emphasize something you are saying."

    1.We really/truly need that extra money.
    2.I really/truly don't mind.
    3.I'm absolutely fine, Dad - really/truly.
    4.Did she really/truly say that?
    5.There was a truly/really beautiful view from the
    window.

    Many thanks to you.
    - they're both OK. There's a stronger collocation for one or the other when combined with some other words.

    1 really => I am talking about a real necessity [stronger collocation]
    truly => What I say about this necessity is true.
    2 'really don't mind' is a very strong collocation; if you use 'truly', you are implicitly avoiding this, so emphasizing the truth of what you say (i.e. I'm not lying')
    3 either
    4 really => emphasis on her: can she really have behaved like that?
    truly => emphasis on person addressed: can I rely on your account?
    5 'really beautiful' is a strong collocation; if you avoid it, you are implicitly addressing the issue of truthfulness again.

    But I'm splitting hairs. Generally, either will do. You can also combine them, in informal contexts (often after expressing disbelief):

    Did you really say that - really and truly?

    b

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    #3

    Re: really/truly

    Hi,
    Thank you Bobk for your clear explanation.
    Last edited by thru; 04-Jan-2007 at 18:32. Reason: Changing the context

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: really/truly

    Quote Originally Posted by thru View Post
    Hi,
    Bobk, I appriciate your clear explanation. And I have one more question about your post. Do you mean 'really' and 'truly' are not exact the same meaning in the cases above? Therefore, they give different ideas when using 'really' or 'truly'? And they are basically not interchangeable, either?
    There's usually a slight (often very slight and/or negligible) difference in focus: really = it happened in reality/truly = my account is true. However, as it is a general convention that people use language reliably
    [I mean, there is no natural language where one word changes meaning arbitrarily from utterance to utterance; one could define a communication system in which black meant either black or white, with the polarity switching according to some arbitrary series - but it wouldn't be a natural language]
    this difference is often tiny; sometimes the choice is purely stylistic.

    Quote Originally Posted by thru View Post
    Hi,
    According to the dictionary, 'truly' can also mean "really existing; in fact, e.g.
    "These will be the first truly democratic elections in the country's history."
    Can we use 'really', 'actually', or 'in fact' here instead of 'truly' and still the same meaning?
    Not 'actually'/'in fact', though you could say "These will actually/in fact be the first democratic elections in the country's history."

    The other two are interchangeable, but there is a stronger collocation with 'truly'. You could explain this by saying that you're referring to the meaning of the word 'democratic', and your use of that word is accurate/true. But I think that's just too theoretical: the fact is that 'truly democratic' is more common than 'really democratic' (about 10 times more, according to Google).

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 04-Jan-2007 at 18:48. Reason: PS tweaked format

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    #5

    Re: really/truly

    Hi,Bobk

    I am glad you could explain the defference to me. I know 'truly' and 'really' have many different usages. Is it possible to use them interchangeably in any cases? I mean when they are the same meaning. If it is, could you please give me some examples?

    Thank you very very much.

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    #6

    Re: really/truly

    In many cases they're interchangeable. In, for example, 'It was really/truly extraordinary' you could use either. Some people use one for preference, some people choose the other. And often the choice is down to things other than meaning; I'd guess* 'really repulsive' and 'truly terrific' are more common collocations than 'truly repulsive'/'really terrific', because of the alliteration.

    Anyway, any difference - as I said - is usually slight if not negligible.

    ps
    *I've checked on Google, which suggests my guess was right by a small margin for repulsive but not for terrific. I don't think this disproves the point about non-semantic factors, it just shows that I picked the wrong one!

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