Special vs. Especial

Difference Between Special and Especial

Grammarians have found that there may be a little or maybe not much of a difference in the use of the words ‘special’ and ‘especial’. The two words are obviously different in the method for their use

Both words are adjectives. ‘Special’ is a general adjective while ‘especial’ is a rare adjective. ‘Special’ has many meanings like ‘different way’ and ‘conceived for a particular purpose’. ‘Especial’ also has varied meanings like ‘exceptional’ and ‘notable’.  Adverbial form of special is ‘specially’ while ‘especially’ is the more popular form.

‘Specially’ means ‘in a distinguished manner’ or particularly while especially means ‘most exceptional’ or particularly. It is interesting to note that these two words are often used synonymously with no difference at all. The strict grammarian would follow certain principles in the use of these two words in the sense that he would use ‘especially’ if he wants to emphasize the exceptional quality. The grammarian would rather use the word ‘special’ if he wants to put the emphasis on the distinctive purpose of something or a place.

An example of a sentence where ‘especially’ can be used is ‘Phillip did especially well in university exams’. Similarly an example of a sentence where the word ‘special’ can be used is’ the dress was specially made for the colder seasons. In the first sentence you would see an exceptional performance is shown and in the second sentence you would see that there is a distinctive purpose for making the dress.

Sometimes both words can be used to convey the same sense you have in the sentences. ‘It was not especially hot’ and “it was not especially hot”. Here both sentences have more or less the same meaning. It is interesting to note that little better grammarians opine that the word ‘especial’ is rare. They would say that using ‘special’ can meet the purpose.

These grammarians believe that there is obviously some difference when it comes to the use of adverbial forms, ‘specially’ and ‘especially’. ‘Especially’ follows a subject.  All my classmates love football, John especially never misses a single match in the school. ‘Specially’ is used to convey the meaning of ‘for a special purpose’. In the sentence, ‘These shoes are specially made during the winter’ you can find the special purpose that was intended in the sentence.


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