grammatical word: apparently

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Today, I want to write about a word which is a bit complex in the English language: “apparently”. It is complex because it has two meanings which are, in many ways, the opposite of each other. The first way we use this word is when something is plainly obvious from our observation of the situation. For example:

Sam wants us to give him a promotion even though he’s only been with the company for six months. Apparently, he thinks he is better than the other employees.

A: Do you think Sarah is happy with the gift we gave her?

B: Apparently she is. Just look at the smile on her face.

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A: Was our neighbor angry about the noise from our party last weekend?

B: Apparently he was. He complained about us to the landlord.

The second meaning of “apparently” is used when talking about some information that we receive about someone or something from another source. We do NOT experience the situation directly, but are told about it from another person or from some kind of media such as a book or newspaper. For example:

I’ve never been to Spain but, apparently, it’s a really beautiful country.

I wasn’t at the office yesterday but, apparently, Gerry had a big argument with the boss.

Apparently, there’s going to be a big storm this weekend, so we’d better cancel our plans to go hiking.

In the first set of examples, the people can tell from observing the situations that Sam thinks he’s better than the other employees, that Sarah is happy with her gift, and that the neighbor was angry. It is obvious based on their observations. However, in the second set of examples, the people get their information indirectly. The person may have read that Spain is a beautiful country, a co-worker told the person about Gerry’s argument with the boss, and the person probably saw the weather forecast for the weekend on TV or in the newspaper.

This word can be difficult because the two meanings are almost opposites of each other. The first meaning is that we get the information directly, and the second meaning is that we get it indirectly. To avoid getting confused, my advice is to always study full sentences so you know exactly how to use the word in each context.

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3 Comments »

  1. devi Said:

    what does rangling mean?

    • Hello there.

      I think the spelling of the word is “wrangling”. The word “wrangle” means to have a dispute or negotiation with another person or group.

      Thanks for your question.

      Mike

  2. devi Said:

    this blog was quite helpful and now i really got the meaning of ‘apparently’


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