Please read the following sentences.

  1. He deliberately did that.

  2. He did that on purpose.

What's the difference ?

Could you give me any more examples which will clarify where to use these words ?

  • 1
    Note that you can say "He did that deliberately" but not *"He on purpose did that".
    – user230
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 10:01
  • They mean the same in this context. You can also say "He didn't do that on purpose". He did it, but not on purpose.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 11:31

2 Answers 2


Deliberately and on purpose can be used interchangeably to mean "intentionally".

But deliberate (adj) and deliberately (adv) also mean "done with care, methodically."

He made the sandwich very deliberately, carefully covering the bread with a layer of peanut butter and then evenly applying the jelly.

  • Isn't "carefully" redundant if you have "deliberately" before it?
    – Andy
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 22:45
  • What do you mean by "redundant"?
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 30, 2015 at 11:16
  • 1
    @Andy, carefully is not redundant. Deliberately modifies "made" and carefully modifies "covering"
    – eques
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 22:40
  • 1
    It's not pedantic. That's how English works. "He made the sandwich, carefully covering the bread..." is a valid sentence, but of course without "very deliberately" it needs context to make sense with "the". "He made the sandwich very deliberately, covering the bread with a layer..." is also valid. Both sentences mean something similar to the original, but with different emphases. Using only carefully would describe only the manner of applying peanut butter versus describing the overall sandwich making.
    – eques
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 13:57
  • 1
    Making a sandwich deliberately might imply covering carefully, but they are not identical in meaning. That's the point of language flexibility; various shades of meaning to emphasize whatever is important or to express creatively.
    – eques
    Commented Aug 18, 2016 at 13:58

So I think I understood the difference.

An example: If something which happened accidentally and I want to take credit for it or I wouldn't like it to be called as an accident, then I will use 'deliberately'. E.g.,

In a game of cricket, I played a shot which by fluke comes off well, but as I wouldn't like it to be called as a fluke then I will say -

No, that shot didn't come off by fluke but I deliberately played it that way.

I suppose in this example 'on purpose' is not possible or is it?

  • Sure it is. I shot it so it would bounce off my forehead on purpose.
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 25, 2014 at 16:06

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