Finely or finally

Finely and finally are confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often confused in usage. Two words or more than two words may be confused because they are similar in spelling, similar in pronunciation, or similar in meaning. These commonly confused words may be pronounced the same way or pronounced differently or may be spelled the same way or spelled differently, or may have different meanings or have almost different meanings; they may be homophones, homonyms, heteronyms, words that have a similar spelling, or words that have a similar meaning. Confusables often confound native speakers of English, and they may be difficult for ESL students and those learning English to understand. Confusables are misspelled, misused words and may be nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, or any other part of speech. Spelling rules in English are not dependable; there are many exceptions. Often, the best procedure for learning commonly misused words and commonly confused words in English is to make word lists of English words for the learner to study. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell and learn the definitions of words. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a confusable in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Confusables are often used in wordplay like puns. We will examine the different meanings of the confusables finely and finally, the word origins of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Finely is an adverb that may describe doing something in an excellent or exquisite manner, doing something subtly, or shaping something into small pieces or into a very sharp point. The word finely is derived from the Old French word fin, to mean of the highest quality. The suffix -ly means having the quality or nature of something.

Finally is an adverb that describes something that occurs as the last in a series or occurs at a point in time that comes after a long wait or a long delay. The word finally is derived from the Medieval word, fynaly, which means at the end.


The finely-educated son of working class immigrants, Dwyer retained a certain blue collar ethic: His writing was honest labor, the sledge and the pickax replaced with a pen. (America Magazine)

Add chopped cilantro, finely diced onion and diced grilled jalapeno and toss to combine. (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

In a debacle that was by no means as close as the score, they were finally beaten, to paraphrase coach Matt Nagy, for being themselves: a team with a good, sometimes-great defense that can never be perfect enough to carry an offense with all the rhythm of a high school reunion dance floor after the open bar has closed. (The Chicago Sun-Times)

Melania Trump will FINALLY hit the campaign trail for her husband by speaking tomorrow in must-win Pennsylvania with Kellyanne Conway (The Daily Mail)

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