Absolutely or Exactly?

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The adverbs ‘absolutely’ and ‘exactly’ can sometimes be used in the same way but they do have different meanings; they are not exactly the same. Read on to find out how to use them.

Expressing agreement

When you want to agree with someone, you can often use either ‘absolutely’ or ‘exactly’ as a single-word response. In some cases, only one of them is correct.

As a general rule, use absolutely for opinions and exactly for facts.

“Reading is a pleasant way to spend time.”

“Absolutely.”

“You can learn a lot from books, too.”

“Exactly.”

Expressing maximums

If you want to say something is the maximum level of a quality use ‘absolutely’ with an ungradeable (strong) adjective.

It’s absolutely cold freezing today.

This looks absolutely tasty delicious!

Expressing precision

If you are talking about things that are gradable or measurable, use ‘exactly’. It’s the opposite of ‘about’ or ‘around’.

He’s exactly six feet two inches tall.

Your homework is exactly two weeks late.