Difference between accidentally or accidently

In the exploration of language and its intricacies, the words “accidentally” and “accidently” serve as a fascinating case study, especially in the context of English grammar and usage. The primary distinction between these two terms lies in their correctness and acceptance within the English language. “Accidentally” is the adverb form of the word “accidental,” indicating something that happens by chance or without intention. Conversely, “accidently” is a common misspelling of “accidentally,” though it has been used historically, its prevalence has diminished, and it is considered incorrect in modern standard English.

Quick Facts Table

CorrectnessCorrect spellingCommon misspelling
Part of SpeechAdverbAttempted adverb
UsageWidely accepted and usedGenerally considered incorrect
Dictionary EntryListed in dictionariesOften not listed or marked as incorrect
FrequencyCommon in both spoken and written EnglishRare and mostly found in informal contexts

Difference Between “Accidentally” OR “Accidently”

Definition of Accidentally

"Accidentally" refers to an action or occurrence that happens by chance or without deliberate intent. It is an adverb used to describe the manner in which something occurs, emphasizing the lack of planning or intention behind the event.

Definition of Accidently

"Accidently", while intended to convey the same meaning as "accidentally," is widely recognized as a misspelling and is not accepted as a standard form in English.

Origin of Accidentally

The word “accidentally” is derived from the Latin word “accidentalis,” which means ‘happening by chance,’ and has been used in English since the late Middle Ages.

Origin of Accidently

“Accidently” appears to be a variant that emerged due to spelling variation or error. Its use has been documented but is far less historical and more sporadic compared to “accidentally.”


Both words are intended to be pronounced similarly, with “accidentally” being the correct pronunciation: /ækˈsɪdəntəli/.

Comparing Accidentally and Accidently

When comparing “accidentally” and “accidently,” the primary focus is on their acceptance and usage in English. “Accidentally” is the only form recognized by standard dictionaries and grammar references, making it the correct choice for formal writing and communication. “Accidently” serves as a reminder of the variability of language and the importance of adhering to standardized spelling conventions.

Comparison Table

SpellingStandardized and correctConsidered incorrect
UsageAccepted in all contextsLimited to errors
RecognitionRecognized by dictionariesOften unrecognized
Historical UsageConsistent and documentedSporadic and less common

Usage in Sentences with Explanations

Use of Accidentally in Sentences

  1. She accidentally dropped her keys into the lake.
    • Here, “accidentally” describes the unintended action of dropping the keys.
  2. I accidentally called the wrong number.
    • Indicates the call was made by mistake.
  3. They accidentally discovered a hidden room in the house.
    • The discovery was made without intention.
  4. He accidentally deleted the file.
    • Describes the unintentional deletion.
  5. We accidentally bumped into each other in the crowded market.
    • The bumping occurred by chance.

Use of Accidently in Sentences

Given “accidently” is a misspelling, its use is not recommended. However, it might appear in informal contexts due to error or oversight, often intending to convey the same meaning as “accidentally.”


Understanding the difference between “accidentally” and “accidently” highlights the importance of accurate spelling in conveying meaning and maintaining the clarity of communication. “Accidentally” is the correct adverbial form, widely accepted and used to describe actions or events that occur by chance. Recognizing and correcting common misspellings such as “accidently” is crucial for effective written and verbal communication.

Commonly Asked Questions

  • Is “accidently” a word?
    • “Accidently” is considered a misspelling of “accidentally.” It is not accepted in standard English.
  • Can “accidently” be used in formal writing?
    • No, “accidently” should not be used in formal writing. The correct form is “accidentally.”
  • Why is “accidentally” spelled with two ‘l’s?
    • “Accidentally” follows the rule of adding -ly to the adjective “accidental” to form an adverb, maintaining the double ‘l’ for consistency in spelling.
  • How can I remember the correct spelling of “accidentally”?
    • Remember that the adverb form adds -ly to the adjective “accidental,” keeping the spelling consistent with its base form.

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