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Fortunately vs. Luckily

While I feel fortunate to be writing this article, it is lucky no one else has written extensively on this topic before! Although every dictionary that you see will define fortunately and luckily as “close” synonyms, there is a subtle difference between the two. We use fortunately in more formal contexts than luckily. In this Grammar.com article, let’s explore more situations where we can use each of these terms!


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  Ramya Shankar  —  Grammar Tips
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Fortunately

Fortunately is the adverb form of the word fortunate meaning a good or favorable situation that happened by chance. Fortune is derived from Latin and English and is a relatively new word (compared to luckily). For example:

Luckily

Luckily originates from Middle Dutch. Luckily is also an adverb and also means by ‘good chance’ and is used for situations that turn out to be favorable by chance. However, the context is usually more informal and is often used to express an emotional response such as gratitude. For example,

Did you happen to notice that all the above sentences occur as part of a casual conversation? It is more common for people to use luckily in spoken English, whereas fortunately is used more in written English.

Fortunately vs. Luckily

Having said this, the two words can be used interchangeably. But it's worth noting the word fortunate is also associated with happiness or relief as the situations come about due to taking the right course of action or circumstances turned out on your favor. For example, there was an option for digital payment, or you chose to park the car inside before it rained. Sometimes, you may be in luck because of situations that are beyond your control. That’s why horoscopes always share your ‘fortune’ and you can change your ‘fortune’ by doing certain things. Luck depends on various external factors too.

Here's a quotation to finish off: “The company was almost on the verge of bankruptcy. Fortunately, they could strike a good deal with a tech giant, which saved face. Luckily, none of their employees were fired during the transition.”

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