Is it formally or formerly?

These words are often typed into documents the wrong way around.

Frequently, these days, if you start typing, software can finish off the words for you – yet choosing the wrong one or you do not spot that the wrong word has been adopted.


This means in accordance with convention/etiquette or done in an official way.

  • He was dressed formally for the occasion.
  • She asked her formally for her resignation.


This means in the past; in earlier times.

  • He was formerly the head of the household.
  • Formerly, he would have known the answer to that grammar query, but not now.