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Supposedly vs. Supposably — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Urooj Arif — Updated on April 7, 2024
Supposedly refers to something believed or accepted as true, while Supposably means something can be supposed.
Supposedly vs. Supposably — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Supposedly and Supposably


Key Differences

Supposedly is often used to indicate that something is believed to be true based on available evidence or general agreement, but without direct proof. Whereas Supposably, though less commonly used, refers to the theoretical possibility of something being supposed or imagined, emphasizing its potential rather than its acceptance as fact.
Supposedly implies a degree of skepticism or doubt about the statement being made, suggesting that what is being stated is not definitively proven. On the other hand, Supposably deals with the capacity for an idea or hypothesis to be considered or speculated upon, without implying any skepticism or belief about its truth.
In common usage, "supposedly" is far more prevalent and is used to qualify statements in everyday conversation, indicating a widely held belief or assumption. Whereas **"Supposably," despite being grammatically correct, is often misused or confused with "supposedly," but when used correctly, it focuses on the hypothetical possibility.
Supposedly carries with it a hint that there might be some disagreement or controversy surrounding the truth of the statement. In contrast, Supposably is neutral regarding the truth value of the proposition, solely indicating that it is possible to suppose.
The distinction between "supposedly" and "supposably" highlights the difference between accepted beliefs or assumptions and the mere capacity for speculation or hypothesis. This difference is crucial in contexts where the precision of language matters, such as formal writing or discussions requiring clear distinctions between fact and possibility.

Comparison Chart


Believed or accepted as true, often without proof.
Capable of being supposed.


Indicates skepticism or doubt about a belief.
Indicates something is theoretically possible.

Common Contexts

Discussions involving rumors or unverified claims.
Theoretical or speculative discussions.


Doubt, skepticism, or assumed truth.
Hypothetical possibility without assertion.

Frequency of Use

More common, widely used in everyday language.
Less common, often confused with "supposedly".

Compare with Definitions


Suggesting something is assumed.
They are supposedly meeting us here.


Reflects the ability to propose a hypothesis.
Supposably, this theory could explain the phenomenon.


Often used to express doubt or hearsay.
He is supposedly retiring next month.


Capable of being supposed or imagined.
Supposably, life exists on other planets.


Believed or considered to be true.
Supposedly, the event was cancelled.


Theoretically possible or conceivable.
It's supposably an easy fix.


Reflecting common belief without proof.
Supposedly, this is the best restaurant in town.


Indicates a hypothetical scenario.
Supposably, what would happen if we tried a different approach?


Used in the context of rumors.
Supposedly, the company is merging.


Used in speculative reasoning.
Supposably, if we had left earlier, we would have avoided the traffic.


(also sə-pōzĭd) Presumed to be true or real without conclusive evidence
A supposed spy.
The supposed decline of culture.


Capable of being supposed or conjectured
A supposable outcome.


(also sə-pōst) Intended
Medication that is supposed to relieve pain.


Able to be supposed or conjectured.


He is supposed to go to the store.


(nonstandard) Supposedly.


We are not supposed to smoke here.


Firmly believed; expected
You're supposed to be my friend.


As a matter of supposition; in the beliefs or according to the claims of some people.
People from other planets have supposedly visited Earth in flying saucers.
According to your testimony, you were supposedly at home watching TV when the murder occurred.


Believed or reputed to be the case

Common Curiosities

Can "supposably" and "supposedly" be used interchangeably?

No, they have distinct meanings: "supposedly" relates to what is believed to be true, while "supposably" refers to what can be imagined as possible.

Is "supposably" a real word?

Yes, it's a real word that means something is capable of being supposed.

Why is "supposedly" more commonly used than "supposably"?

"Supposedly" is more applicable to everyday situations where beliefs or assumptions are being discussed, while "supposably" is more specific and less frequently applicable.

Does "supposedly" imply truth?

It implies something is accepted or believed to be true, often with a hint of skepticism or without direct proof.

Is it incorrect to use "supposably" when you mean "supposedly"?

Yes, using "supposably" instead of "supposedly" is incorrect if you intend to refer to something believed or accepted as true.

How is "supposably" correctly used?

It's used to indicate that something can be supposed or imagined as a possibility.

What contexts are suitable for using "supposably"?

It's suitable for theoretical or speculative contexts where the focus is on what could be imagined or proposed.

What is an example sentence for "supposedly"?

"The treasure is supposedly hidden in the old mansion."

What does "supposedly" mean?

It means something is accepted as true or probable, often based on general belief rather than solid proof.

Why might someone choose "supposedly" over "supposably"?

Someone might choose "supposedly" for clarity and because it's more commonly understood in discussions about beliefs or rumors.

Can "supposedly" express doubt?

Yes, it often carries a nuance of doubt or skepticism regarding the truth of the statement.

What is an example sentence for "supposably"?

"Supposably, the equation could have another solution we haven't considered."

Does the misuse of "supposably" indicate a lack of understanding?

Misusing "supposably" can suggest a misunderstanding of its correct application or confusion with "supposedly."

Are there situations where "supposably" is the better choice?

Yes, in discussions focusing on theoretical possibilities or hypothetical scenarios, "supposably" is the more accurate choice.

How do the connotations of "supposedly" and "supposably" differ?

"Supposedly" connotes skepticism or accepted belief without proof, whereas "supposably" implies theoretical possibility without asserting truth.

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Author Spotlight

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.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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