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Confusing words choices

Formally v formerly

Word conundrums – especially ones that sound or look similar – constantly rear their ugly heads when we’re writing. There’s nothing worse than re-reading a sent email or a published report to find a glaring mistake. Not a simple typo but a ‘confusable’. Let’s look at the difference between formally and formerly.

Formally or formerly

Formally

Official or according to custom (formal).

  • The formally dressed HR manager formally introduced himself to the team.

Formerly

Previously or in the past (former).

  • The new HR manager was formerly a professional wrestler.

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