Formerly vs formally: top spelling tricks to help you decide

Posted on , by Sarah Townsend in Confusables, Grammar articles, Spelling tips, Writing tips no comments

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.

Want more spelling and writing tips?

Check out my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter. Got your own way of remembering how to spell those tricksy #confusables? I’d love to hear. Tweet me

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

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