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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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yoong LiatI'm surprised to learn that 'accidently' exists.Me too. I always use accidentally.
Anonymousit comes from "accidental", which is an adverb.The word "accidental" is an adjective.
The word "accidentally" is an adverb.
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