American English

Definition of certainly adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1without doubt synonym definitely Without treatment, she will almost certainly die. Certainly, the early years are crucial to a child's development. I'm certainly never going there again. She was certainly attractive but you couldn't call her beautiful. Which Word?surely / certainly You can use surely to show that you are almost certain about what you are saying and you want other people to agree with you. It usually comes at the beginning of the sentence:Surely this can’t be right?Surely in negative sentences shows that something surprises you and you do not want to believe it:Surely you’re not thinking of going, are you? Certainly is more formal and usually means “without doubt” or “definitely,” and is used to show that you strongly believe something or to emphasize that something is really true:I’ll certainly remember this trip!In informal English, this would be:I’ll sure remember this trip!Compare:She's certainly too busy to see you this week (= there is no doubt about it)andSurely she's too busy to see you this week (= that is my opinion. Don’t you agree?). In formal language only, surely can be used to mean “without doubt”:This will surely end in disaster. Language Bankneverthelessconceding a point and making a counterargument While the movie is undoubtedly too long, it is nevertheless an intriguing work of art. It can be argued that the movie is too long. It is nonetheless an intriguing work of art. The movie is undoubtedly too long. Still, it is an intriguing work of art. Of course, huge chunks of the book have been sacrificed in order to make a two-hour movie, but it is nevertheless a successful piece of storytelling. Critics are wrong to argue that the movie's plot is too complicated. Certainly there are a couple of major twists, but audiences will have no difficulty following them. It is true that you cannot make a good movie without a good script, but it is equally true that a talented director can make a good script into an excellent movie. It remains to be seen whether these two movies herald a new era of westerns, but there is no doubt that they represent welcome additions to the genre.
  2. 2(used in answer to questions) of course “May I see your passport, Mr. Scott?” “Certainly.” “Do you think all this money will change your life?” “Certainly not.”
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: certainly