Thursday, March 18, 2010


Thursday, March 18, 2010

I have heard many times that supposably is not a real word. If it is not a real word then why do I hear people use it all the time? I don't just hear it from everyday people, I hear supposably being used on the radio and T.V. A few weeks ago I was watching The History Channel. It was a UFO show about Roswell and Area 51. Several times during this program I heard the word supposably. It wasn't used by the people who were interviewed, it was used by the narrator. Now, I was very sick when I watched this show so maybe I heard the guy wrong. He could have said supposedly,which is a real word.

I looked up both words to see if I could find definitions for them. This is what I found on Wiktionary:

Supposedly: adverb; as a matter of supposition; in the beliefs or according to the claims of some people.
Exp. People from other planets have supposedly visited Earth in flying saucers.

Supposably: adverb; able to be be supposed or conjectured.
Exp. 1914 Emily A. Smith, The Life and Letters of Nathan Smith
The portrait here is supposably the well-known one of Samuel Finey Breese Morse....

If supposably is not a word, it is a 'fake' word that has been used for almost a hundred years according to the example above. I found a discussion on the Internet about these two words. According to one person, both words are real. He found them in the Oxford English Dictionary. I don't have that dictionary, so I can't verify it.

Is supposably a real word? I don't know. I have used it myself from time to time. I try to correct myself when I do. What about you? Do you think supposably is a word? Have you ever said it in place of supposedly?

SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood


Beth Ciotta said...

Too funny. A few weeks ago, Steve and I were discussing the words people mispronunce (prompted by another SIS post) and he mentioned how he hears people use 'supposably' and how it's not a word. That the correct word is 'supposedly'. I had to think about that one for a minute because although I don't use 'supposebly', I've heard it all my life. Was it a regional thing? I wondered.

You're post made me curious all over, again BJ. For what it's worth, here's what I found at Merriam Webster Dictionary..

Main Entry: sup·pos·able
Pronunciation: \sə-ˈpō-zə-bəl\
Function: adjective
Date: 1627
: capable of being supposed : conceivable
— sup·pos·ably \-blē\ adverb


SIS Beth

SIS BJ said...

Hi Beth

When you hear a word pronounced a certain way for most of your life it is hard not to say it. I don't think i have ever used supposable. I didn't know it was a word until I began to look up supposably.

Alyson Reuben said...

Is supposably a real word? Hmm... that's supposable, I guess. Ha ha! I crack myself up sometimes. To be honest, I haven't given this word much thought before, but according to several sources both versions are acceptable. It's kind of like 'first' (as in 'first of all') and 'firstly'. The latter one drives me crazy when I hear it, because it just sounds so wrong to me even though both forms are correct.

Chris Behrens said...

I too have heard people use it before and just assumed it was incorrect. And yes, I know what you do when you assume. This makes me wonder how many other 'wrong' words I've heard people use are actually correct. Good one, BJ.

Tori Lennox said...

I have never used the word "supposably" in my life. Though even if it didn't have historical dictionaries to back it up, I wouldn't be at all surprised that so-called "professionals" were using it and/or mispronouncing other words. I don't think good grammar is taught in journalism school anymore. I'm frequently appalled by the way our local news people talk. Of course, I then promptly go and blog it and laugh at them publicly so I guess I do get something out if it. :D

Elle J Rossi said...

I never thought supposably was a word and I cringe when I hear people say it. Maybe I'm cringing in error. Hmm. I looked it up in the dictionary at work and it's not listed at all. I looked it up online and found it in some, but not all of those dictionaries. I'm torn. It sounds so wrong. I will try to accept it the next time I hear someone use it.

A friend a work showed me an email where someone supposedly misspelled a word. She thought I would enjoy it since I can't stand when people spell incorrectly. I read it, read it again and explained that I would never use this word or spell it in such a way, but that I better look it up before I make fun of her. Thank goodness I did. The word was 'spelt' and yes it is a word and an acceptable form for the past tense of spell. Still, I'll never use it.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Sisters-in-Sync said...


You picked a great word or "non-word". I've mentioned this several times to my husband and others. I have never considered supposably a word. I always thought it was just a regional thing, or that people just misunderstood the pronunciation. Just like how I always thought Grandma was saying Chester drawers (maybe she was) when it is really chest of drawers. For years growing up, I said Chester drawers.

I too, not long ago, heard a reporter or narrator or something of the sort say "supposably" and I couldn't believe it. But seeing the evidence, I guess I'll have to learn to accept supposably as a word, but like Barb, I'll never use it. And I agree with Alyson. "Firstly" just sounds wrong. I would never in a million years think that was correct.

SIS Bren

SIS BJ said...

Thank you everyone for your input on the non-word that is a word that should not be used.

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