with Luke Taylor
"When one does something on purpose, does one say purposefully or purposely? Is there a difference? This has recently become an ongoing debate with friends and family, split about evenly. Can you please settle this grammar feud?"Thanks for the question, Abby. Fowler's Modern English Usage suggests a careful examination of the dictionary definitions of these words to best understand their differences. The Oxford English Dictionary defines purposely as "on purpose; by design; designedly; intentionally; deliberately." For example:
The man purposely avoided walking along the busy street.Meanwhile, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines purposefully as "having a purpose or meaning, indicating a purpose or plan, or having a definite purpose in mind." Gordon Jarvie, in his Bloomsbury Grammar Guide, defines purposefully as "resolutely" or "with determination." For example:
The hockey player purposely instigated a fight with his opponent.
In the autumn, you can see geese moving purposefully across the sky.And to Abby listening in Massachusetts: Let us know how your family feud turns out.
Dissatisfied, the customer walked purposefully to the door.