These two comments were taken from one of our posts here on ELL. I think I had two questions, and the one in the comment was one of them . Would you read and comment please?

@learner Do you mean that reading John's answer caused you to check a dictionary? Then "You made me check a dictionary" would be most appropriate, but if you want to avoid saying "you", you can avoid using a causative entirely and say "I had to check a dictionary" instead.

Thank you @SB. My questions were duly answered.

For the meaning of duly, Merriam Webster's says: in a due manner or time : properly

What sense do you understand from my comment to the knowledgeable person who answered my questions? Was my answer appropriate and does it sound natural? When I was typing the comment I was afraid that the comment would have a bossy tone as if the other person was doing a job. Sometimes after reading more you feel get further lost.

I generally understand the meaning, but not so much as to know exactly when and how to use it other than copying the examples presented in the dictionaries! I hope this post was duly posted to see how far I have gone in knowing how to use it.

Please, bear in mind that I have read some posts in ELU (for example here and here) and this word's entries in several dictionaries including Cambridge, Oxford, The Free Dictionary and Macmillan. I have also checked COCA for more examples.

If my use above was not quite right, how would you fix it but still using duly there. I hope my question would be duly answered!


First, let me answer your numerous questions:

  1. What sense do I understand from your comment? That the questions were answered properly.
  2. Was your answer appropriate? Yes, the answer was.
  3. Did the answer sound natural? Yes; you sounded more formal which tends to color a response as more respectful than if it had been informal.

Duly is not used very much in informal (colloquial) speech and writing. As such, its formal tone shades the sentence. Is this wrong? Not at all. Using a formal tone is common in several languages when a person wishes to express an additional degree of respect and politeness. To give an example, the colloquial "May I please take your daughter to the dance?" versus the quite formal "May I please have the privilege and honor of escorting your daughter to the dance?"

So, to once again revisit your question and give you a comprehensive answer: Yes your comment was correct, and it sounded respectful. And to answer the implied question of how to avoid "sounding bossy" I suggest you do a bit of research on Imperative (grammatical) Mood. A good understanding of it will allow you to avoid "sounding bossy" unless you choose to.

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