Accidently vs. Accidentally?

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Anonymous:
Hi,

i'm a little confused when spelling the word "accidently" vs accidentally. Some dictionaries accept both spellings and then I read somewhere that "accidently" is not a correct way to spell it. Any thoughts?
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Pick a dictionary, and make that your standard. I use www.m-w.com .

It says that "accidently" is an alternate spelling of accidentally.

Since the dictionary I rely on gives is an alternate spelling, I'm okay with it - though the fact that others may consider it incorrect might cause you to hestitate to use it.
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They're both technically right. "Accidently" is a variant of "accidentally" in most dictionaries. It's been said, but it's best to pick a dictionary and stick with it for consistency. (Merriam Webster is the one I use also.)

And in the cases of variants, I try to avoid them at all costs. A variant (accidently, alright) is accepted in some circles but not in others. A nonvariant (accidentally, all right) is accepted everywhere. It's more right, if there is such a thing.
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Anonymous:
The correct word is "accidentally" because it comes from "accidental", which is an adverb.

Accidently is not correct and not a word.

Just because some dictionaries have it listed, doesn't make it correct. A lot of dictionaries put words in because they are popular, not necessarily because they are correct.
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I disagree with the advice above that one should pick a dictionary and use it as the ultimate guide to one's spelling. Dictionaries are descriptive documents. If a misspelt word is common enough, it will find its way into a dictionary somewhere, but that doesn't necessarily make that word immediately acceptable to educated readers.

One should really pick a respected usage guide, such as Brian Garner's Modern American Usage and use that for guidance on how things should be spelt. Such a guide will tell you which of several variant spellings is preferable, and why.

On the question of accidentally, Garner unequivocally says that 'accidentally' is correct and 'accidently' is not. It's safe to say, therefore, that using 'accidently' will annoy many readers: good reason never to use it.
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The following excerpt is from Cambridge Guide to English Usage by Pam Peters (Macquarie University) [first published 2004].

Accidentally or accidently

The second and shorter spelling is not obsolete as Oxford Dictionary (1989) claims. Databases show its currency, with a score of British examples in the BNC and almost 100 American ones in CCAE. These numbers suggest that accidently is somewhat commoner in American English, and its relative frequency vis-a-vis accidentally confirms it: about 1:15 in American data, whereas it's 1:28 in the British data. Accidently is sometimes regarded as a spelling mistake or malformation, but its pedigree is obscured by the fact that accident was once an adjective, from which it could derived quite regularly. Common pronunciation of the word (with stress on the first syllable) also supports the shorter form. This is not to say we should prefer it to accidentally: rather that it cannot be dismissed as a solecism.
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ALL REPLIES
All along I thought that 'accidentally' was the correct adverb. I'm surprised to learn that 'accidently' exists.
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Yoong LiatI'm surprised to learn that 'accidently' exists.
Me too. I always use accidentally.

CJ
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Anonymousit comes from "accidental", which is an adverb.
The word "accidental" is an adjective.
The word "accidentally" is an adverb.
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Anonymous:
No, accidently is a word, just a variation of accidentally. You can use it, and in most cases, it is correct. Accidentally will always be correct.
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