I have confusion about the exact difference between these two words. I understand that both are used to choose only one condition/situation/thing out of many, but it seems they have different meaning.

For example in following:

  1. I categorically deny the allegation.

  2. I explicitly deny the allegation.

I think "categorically" applies to the "allegation", denying a particular allegation, but "explicitly" applies to subject (I here), denying allegation very clearly. Is that correct?

From Oxford Living Dictionaries:

Explicitly: In a clear and detailed manner, leaving no room for confusion or doubt.
She has explicitly rejected the theory of patriarchy.

Categorically: In a way that is unambiguously explicit and direct.
I categorically deny any involvement in any fraud.


In this context "categorically" means the same as "explictly". In logic something is "categorical" if it makes an absolute assertion, from this it came to mean "unconditional and explicit". There is no real difference in meaning between the two example sentences.

In both cases the adverb (categorically or explicitly) modifies the verb (deny). It is not possible for an adverb to modify a pronoun (I). In fact it is generally not possible to modify pronouns at all, even with adjectives.

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In your examples

I categorically deny the allegation.
How ever you look at it, I deny the allegation.


I explicitly deny the allegation.
I, with full disclosure, deny the allegation

However, "explicitly" is not often used in this context.

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  • Thank you. Would you please see updated question? – doubleE Oct 9 '18 at 14:06
  • Both of your answers are saying the allegation is clearly denied. – Peter Oct 9 '18 at 14:18

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