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Mandatory vs. Mandatorily — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 26, 2024
"Mandatory" is an adjective meaning required or obligatory, often used to describe laws or rules, whereas "mandatorily" is an adverb that describes the manner in which something is done as required.
Mandatory vs. Mandatorily — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Mandatory and Mandatorily


Key Differences

"Mandatory" is used to describe something that is compulsory, such as "mandatory attendance" at a meeting. On the other hand, "mandatorily" is used to modify verbs, indicating that an action is performed as a requirement, as in "Employees must clock in mandatorily."
In legal and formal contexts, "mandatory" is often applied to rules or conditions that must be followed, like "mandatory retirement age." Whereas "mandatorily" would be used to describe how these rules are implemented, e.g., "Retirement is enforced mandatorily at age 65."
The use of "mandatory" is more common in everyday language, describing required actions or elements, such as "mandatory safety gear." Meanwhile, "mandatorily" is less commonly used and often appears in more technical or formal texts.
"Mandatory" can also be used in compound forms like "mandatory compliance," indicating that compliance is not optional. In contrast, "mandatorily" would adjust the verb in a phrase like "Compliance is mandatorily enforced."
Both terms reflect obligations, but "mandatory" is broader and more versatile, applying to nouns, whereas "mandatorily" is specifically used to describe the way an action is undertaken.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech



Describes nouns
Modifies verbs

Common Contexts

Laws, rules, requirements
Enforcement of actions


Mandatory meeting
Report mandatorily

Frequency of Use

More common
Less common

Compare with Definitions


Authoritatively ordered; obligatory.
The training is mandatory for all new hires.


With an authoritative or imperative approach.
Employees are mandatorily required to attend the training.


Required by law or rules; obligatory.
Attendance at the seminar is mandatory.


As a compulsory measure.
Visitors must register mandatorily at the front desk.


Necessary or very important.
It's mandatory to understand the safety procedures.


In an obligatory context.
Updates to the software are installed mandatorily.


Of the nature of a mandate.
Failure to comply with mandatory guidelines may result in penalties.


In a mandatory manner; by requirement.
All reports must be filed mandatorily by Friday.


Permitting no option; not to be disregarded or modified.
Wearing helmets is mandatory for motorcycle riders.


As per obligation or enforcement.
Compliance with the new rules is mandatorily enforced.


Required by law or mandate; compulsory
Wearing helmets was made mandatory for pedal cyclists


In a mandatory manner; not optionally; required.


Variant spelling of mandatary


In a manner that cannot be evaded;
The ministry considers that contributions to such a fund should be met from voluntary donations rather than from rates compulsorily levied.


Required or commanded by authority; obligatory
Attendance at the meeting is mandatory.


Of, having the nature of, or containing a mandate.


Holding a League of Nations mandate over a territory.


A mandatary.


Obligatory; required or commanded by authority.
Attendance at a school is usually mandatory for children.


Of, being or relating to a mandate.
Mandatory Palestine


(disc golf) A sign or line that require the path of the disc to be above, below or to one side of it.


A person, organisation or state who receives a mandate; a mandatary.


Containing a command; preceptive; directory.


Obligatory; compulsory; required by authority.


Not optional; not able to be modified or disregarded; as, seven mandatory clauses in the contract.


Same as Mandatary.


The recipient of a mandate


A territory surrendered by Turkey or Germany after World War I and put under the tutelage of some other European power until they ar able to stand by themselves


Required by rule;
In most schools physical education are compulsory
Attendance is mandatory
Required reading

Common Curiosities

What does mandatory mean?

Mandatory refers to something that is required or obligatory by law or rules.

What does it mean when something is done mandatorily?

It means that the action is performed as a compulsory measure.

What impact does 'mandatory' have on daily life?

'Mandatory' rules can impact daily life by dictating necessary actions for safety, health, and well-being.

Are there mandatory practices in schools?

Yes, such as mandatory attendance or mandatory examinations.

Is 'mandatory' only used in legal contexts?

No, 'mandatory' is used broadly in various contexts where compliance with rules or guidelines is required.

How is 'mandatorily' used in a sentence?

'Mandatorily' is used to describe an action that is carried out as a requirement, e.g., "The forms must be completed mandatorily."

Can 'mandatory' and 'mandatorily' be used interchangeably?

No, 'mandatory' is an adjective, while 'mandatorily' is an adverb, and they modify different parts of speech.

What are examples of mandatory regulations?

Examples include mandatory safety regulations at workplaces or mandatory insurance requirements for vehicles.

What are the consequences of not following mandatory instructions?

Consequences can include legal penalties, fines, or other disciplinary actions.

How can one check if a requirement is mandatory?

One can review official documents, laws, or ask authoritative sources within the relevant field.

Why is understanding 'mandatory' important?

Understanding 'mandatory' helps ensure compliance with essential laws and regulations in various aspects of life.

How do businesses ensure things are done mandatorily?

Businesses implement strict policies and monitoring to ensure that certain actions are done mandatorily.

Does 'mandatorily' relate to positive or negative outcomes?

'Mandatorily' itself is neutral; it denotes compulsory action without implying the nature of the outcome.

What is a synonym for 'mandatory'?

A synonym for 'mandatory' is 'compulsory.'

What is the origin of the word 'mandatory'?

The word 'mandatory' derives from late Latin 'mandatorius', meaning 'commanding' or 'giving a mandate.'

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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