Little Book of Confusables

Formerly vs formally: top spelling tricks to help you decide

FORMERLY or FORMALLY: which is which? Top spelling tips to remember the difference.

FORMERLY or FORMALLY – they sound the same but their meanings are very different.

So, what do these words mean – and how do you decide which spelling you need? It’s easy.

These simple spelling tips will help you decide whether you need the word FORMERLY or FORMALLY.


FORMERLY means something that happened before, or in the past. The clue is in the root of the word: FORMER.

For example:

“I changed my name when I got married. I was FORMERLY known as Sarah Saunders.”


FORMALLY means in accordance with etiquette or convention. It’s easy to remember when you know it starts with FORMAL.

For example:

“These days, I’m FORMALLY known as Ms Townsend.”

I hope this helps you to remember the difference between FORMERLY and FORMALLY.

Confusables formerly vs formally. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Confusables: FORMERLY vs FORMALLY. Language and spelling tips from copywriter Sarah Townsend Editorial

Coming soon: The Little Book of Confusables

Wouldn’t you love a handy guide to those tricksy spellings that trip you up and make you look bad? Words like PRACTICE and PRACTISE, AFFECT and EFFECT, or IMPLY and INFER.

The Little Book of Confusables shares simple, memorable spelling tips and examples for more than 500 of the words you find most confusing. Supercharge your vocabulary and avoid embarrassing mistakes! Sign up to my monthly newsletter for updates.