The following extract shows the usage of wrong, wrongly and wrongfully.
In the specific case of “accused”, wrongfully appears to be the more appropriate adverb to use:
It is acceptable to use both wrong and wrongly as an adverb. Here are two instances:
If we want to sound less formal:
- He pronounced my name wrongly. [more formal] ✓
- He pronounced my name wrong. [less formal] ✓
Wrong can be used as an adverb instead of wrongly when it comes after a verb:
- It was spelt wrong. ✓ (also spelt wrongly = more formal)
or after the object of a verb:
- He spelt the word wrong. ✓ (also spelt wrongly = more formal)
! We cannot use wrong as an adverb before a past participle:
- His name was wrongly spelt. wrong spelt
or before a clause beginning with that:
- The newspaper stated wrongly that the company planned to open new offices in Paris.
Wrongfully is used in formal legal statements, as seen in these examples:
- He was wrongfully accused of murder. ✓ (They accused him but he was found not guilty.)
- He was innocent, so he was wrongfully imprisoned. ✓ (He was sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit.)
We also use wrongfully with words like convicted and dismissed.
I hope both learners of English and native speakers will find this explanation useful. Feel free to leave a comment below.