How to use respectfully and respectively correctly

Written by ehow contributor
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Just like affect and effect, respectfully and respectively often get misused in both spoken and written grammar. If you are one of the many people who have problems figuring out the proper usage for respectfully and respectively, here is an easy guide to help you remember how to properly use these two commonly confused words.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Grasp the meaning of respectfully. It means to act with or show respect. For example, "The student spoke to the teacher respectfully."

  2. 2

    Understand the meaning of respectively. It means in a specifically stated order. For example, "Susie's brothers Jimmy and Johnny are 10 and 12, respectively." In the context of this sentence, Jimmy is 10 and Johnny is 12.

  3. 3

    Comprehend the concept of adverbs. Respectively and respectfully both are adverbs. Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

  4. 4

    Know how to properly use adverbs in writing and in speech. Adverbs often describe the manner in which something is done. Some examples are "She was driving carelessly" and "He performed the dance beautifully."

Tips and warnings

  • Use the words in singular form. If you aren't sure which word to use, break them both down to singular form. For example, "He spoke to the teacher with respect" or "He spoke to the teacher with respective." This is an easy way to figure out which word is the correct one for the sentence.
  • Use easy word tricks. If you still find yourself confusing these two words think of it like this "respective order; respectful manner."
  • Don't get too caught up with the definition of adverbs and their modifiers. It is easy to get confused and use the wrong word because they are both adverbs. Sticking to word tricks and definitions are the easiest ways to avoid misusing these two words.

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