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

closed as off-topic by Jason Bassford, J.R. May 10 at 18:59

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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 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.


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".

  • 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 at 23:37
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    @DavidSiegel agreed. Two heads are better than one . . . . – Karen927 May 9 at 23:59

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