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He stomps on my foot intentionally.

He stomps on my foot deliberately.

He did it intentionally.

He did it deliberately.

When should we use intentionally and deliberately?

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2 Answers 2

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When you want to state that an action was done on purpose, the two words are very closely synonymous and nearly always interchangeable.

I personally use deliberately when I want to say that someone not only did an action on purpose, but that the method by which they did it was thought out and careful, particularly if it was a negative action. This brings in the second definition of deliberately, "unhurried and carefully."

Intentionally is perhaps very slightly more formal, but deliberately is perfectly acceptable in formal writing as well. You see intentionally used in instructions, for instance, "The following pages were intentionally left blank." I have never seen deliberately used in that setting.

For informal situations "on purpose" or "purposely" is more common, though both of the other words are used in informal settings as well.

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To do something purposely is to decide to do something:

I purposely rode my bike to school today to avoid the upperclassmen, because they always bully us younger kids while we're walking to school in the morning.

To do something deliberately is to decide to do something using thought, measure, and/or a specific plan of action:

Unfortunately riding my bike to school today didn't spare me from the upperclassmen bullies, because they deliberately waited for me at the bike rack even though they were late for first period

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