Accidentally Or Accidently – How To Spell It Correctly

04.02.24 Spelling mistakes Time to read: 2min

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Spelling English words correctly often poses an obstacle for many students, especially when it comes to frequently made spelling mistakes of specific words. This challenge can arise from various reasons, such as the variation in spelling of similar words across different languages or differences in pronunciation. A common area of confusion is between “accidentally” and “accidently.” This guide will clarify the correct spelling of this word with examples to solidify your understanding.

The correct spelling of “accidentally”

“Accidentally” acts as an adverb, which can be easily recognized by the suffix “-ly.” It indicates that something was not purposefully done or happened unintentionally. The only correct way of spelling it is “accidentally.”

The word “accidentally” originates from the Late Latin word “accidentalis,” meaning “happening by chance.” It derived from the verb “accidere,” meaning “to happen.” In the 14th century, the word “accident” was first adopted in the Middle English, which later evolved into the adverbial expression “accidentally,” reflecting the concept of something happening not by design but as an unintended consequence.

Correct spelling

accidentally

Incorrect spelling

accidently

The most common misspelling of the word “accidentally” happens by omitting the “al” in the last part “-ally.” This commonly occurs, as “-ly” is the commonly known suffix used to form adverbs in English. Additionally, due to phonetics of this word may also explain why it is often misspelled as “accidently,” as the “al” in the word is silent when pronounced.

Examples

  • He accidentally mixed up the dates and missed the important lecture.
  • During the renovations, she accidentally found an old love letter.
  • I accidentally dropped my engagement ring in the drain yesterday.

Mnemonic for spelling “accidentally”

In this case, it might be helpful to break down the word to remember the correct spelling. Adverbs primarily modify adjectives or other adverbs. Therefore, don’t think of the noun “accident” when breaking down the word, but rather of the adjective “accidental.” To form an adverb, remember to add the suffix “-ly” at the end of the adjective.

Note: accidental (adjective) + -ly  (adverbial suffix) = accidentally

FAQs

“Accidentally” is an adverb, which means “by mistake” or “not on purpose.”

“Accidentally” has only one way of being spelled correctly across all English language variations.

The most common synonyms for “accidentally” are listed below:

  1. By chance
  2. By mistake
  3. Inadvertently
  4. Unintentionally
  5. Unknowingly

Keep in mind that adverbs can be built from adjectives by adding the suffix “-ly.” Use the adjective “accidental” and add the adverbial suffix “-ly” at the end to remember how to spell it correctly.

The only correct spelling is: “accidentally”

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