What do English speakers exactly mean when they say:

I don't necessarily think that


I don't think that someone is necessarily a bad person

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    You can get this question reopened by doing including some research explaining what you learned when you looked up necessarily in a dictionary. We don't mind helping people when they get stuck, but you need to first put forth a good-faith effort and include those results in your question. – J.R. May 10 '19 at 19:00

This construction denies positively asserting something, while implying that the speaker thinks it probable, or at least possible.

I don't think that Joe is NECESSARILY a bad person.

The evidence presented or the situation under discussion does not prove that Joe is a bad person, and the speaker is not willing to assert that joe is a bad person. However, it is implied that the facts at least suggest that Joe is a bad parson, that other explanations are less likely.

I don't NECESSARILY THINK that people who say Bacon wrote Shakespeare are nuts.

They may simply be misled or have other reasons, but this is not a positive statement about such people. The speaker implies that it is more likely than not that such people are nuts, even if it isn't really proved.

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It means that one should not rely on assumptions when making a judgment. Examples: "Just because it's raining today doesn't necessarily mean the weather will be bad tomorrow." "Just because he won an award doesn't necessarily make him a good person".

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  • Yes, but when "necessarily" is stressed, and particularly when used along with think, I believe it usually implies "unproved but likely". – David Siegel May 9 '19 at 23:37
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    @DavidSiegel agreed. Two heads are better than one . . . . – Karen927 May 9 '19 at 23:59

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