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Difference Between Special and Especial

Special vs Especial

Grammarians of the past have explored the possible difference between the two words special and especial.  They found that there can be a little or possibly not much of a difference in the usage of the two words.  The two words of course have some difference in the method of their usage.

Both the words are adjectives.  Whereas ‘special’ is a common adjective, ‘especial’ is an uncommon adjective.  ‘Special’ has varied meanings such as ‘distinct way’, ‘designed for a particular purpose’ and the like.  The word ‘Especial’ has varied meanings too such as ‘noteworthy’, ‘exceptional’ and the like.  ‘Specially’ is the adverbial form of the common adjective ‘special’.  This adverbial form is not common though.  You would find the adverbial form ‘especially’ more often used these days.

‘Specially’ means ‘in a distinguished manner’, ‘particularly’ and the like, whereas ‘especially’ means ‘exceptionally’, particularly’ and the like.  It is interesting to note that these two words, ‘special’ and ‘especial’ are used synonymously often with no difference whatsoever.  The strict grammarian would follow certain principles in the usage of these two words in the sense that he would use ‘especial’ if he wants to emphasize the exceptional or the noteworthy quality of a thing or a place.  The grammarian would prefer the usage of the word ‘special’ if he wants to lay emphasis on the distinctive purpose of something or some place for that matter.

An example of a sentence wherein the word ‘especially’ can be used is ‘Phillip did especially well in the university examinations’.  Similarly an example of a sentence wherein the word ‘specially’ can be used is ‘The dress was specially made for colder seasons’.  In the first sentence you would find that some noteworthy performance is expressed and in the second sentence you would find that some distinctive purpose is intended in the making of the dress.

Sometimes both the words can be used to convey the same sense as you have in the sentences. ‘It was not specially hot’ and ‘It was not especially hot’.  Here both the sentences have more or less the same sense.  Nothing extra is suggested by the usage of words, ‘specially’ and ‘especially’.  It is interesting to note that some of the best of the grammarians opine that the adjective ‘especial’ is rare.  They would say that the usage of ‘special’ would suffice in all cases.  They say, ‘He took special interest in the project’ is as good and connotative as saying, ‘He took special interest in the project’.

These grammarians feel there is of course some kind of difference when it comes to the usage of the adverbial forms, ‘especially’ and ‘specially’.  ‘Especially’ follows a subject.  All my classmates are fond of the sport of football.  Edwin especially does not miss a single football match in the club premises’.  ‘Specially’ is used to convey the sense of ‘for a special purpose’.  In the sentence, ‘These shoes were specially made for winter’ you can find the special purpose that was meant in the sentence.


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