Critical thinking on a test is a bit tricky — it’s not the standard “A, B, or C” or “true or false.” One of the answers is “definitely true,” so is this the “definite truth?” Does that even make sense?
“Definitely true” is a valid statement to use. Think of it as a confident assurance that the answer is correct. “Definitely” is an adverb modifying “true,” which is an adjective. Usually, we use this in a full sentence, but we can also use it as a simple declarative statement on its own.
This article discusses the use of “definitely true,” along with when and how to use it. Also, we show what to use in place of “definitely true,” as well as saying something is accurate or “very true.”
What Does “Definitely True” Mean?
When we say “definitely true,” there is no doubt that the statement is correct — a double positive, if you will. One place you’ll see this phrase is on a critical thinking test. You know, the one with the answer choices:
- Definitely True
- Possibly True
- Unsure/Insufficient Evidence
- Possibly False
- Definitely False
Let’s take “possibly true” and “definitely true.” For a statement to be “possibly true,” there might be some parts or all of it that are not completely true. However, if you have no doubt whatsoever, the answer is “definitely true.”
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “Definitely True?”
Yes! “Definitely true” is grammatically correct and is useful in many ways. When you break it down, the adverb “definitely” and the adjective “true” work well to indicate certainty about something’s truthfulness.
“Definitely” As an Adverb
As an adverb, “definitely” modifies the adjective “true” to say something is absolutely correct. An adverb is a word typically that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. They express degree, time, place, cause, or manner.
- I definitely recommend the chicken parmesan at the restaurant.
In this sentence, “definitely” modifies the verb “recommend” and shows that chicken parmesan is the best choice on the menu.
- That ball was definitely in the line!
In this sentence, “definitely” modifies another adverb, “in,” stating the ball is within the line and counts.
Like many adverbs, “definitely” has an -ly suffix (source). It originates from the adjective “definite,” which means “clearly stated,” “true,” “certain.”
May I Interject? Definitely!
We also use “definitely” in an exclamation, which we also call an interjection (source). We say it in a state of extreme feeling or agreement with an exclamation point, or, if the feeling is not as strong, use a comma with it as a sentence tag.
Speaker 1: Do you think we should hit the 7:00 p.m. movie?
Speaker 2: Definitely!
In this sentence, the person is excited and agrees to see the movie at 7:00 p.m.
- I want to go on a second date, definitely.
In this sentence, “definitely” is part of the sentence, but the feeling is not strong as in an exclamation, so we use a comma and period.
For some fun references and uses for interjections, check out the Schoolhouse Rock video on YouTube.
The Adjective Is “True”
The word “true” has many usages and definitions, but, in the case of “definitely true,” it is an adjective meaning “real” or “correct.” Adjectives are words that describe nouns, whether as a subject or object within a sentence.
- He showed his true nature.
In this sentence, “true” modifies the noun “nature” that comes after and says he shows his real personality.
- The legends are true.
In this sentence, “true” modifies the noun “legends,” but this time, the noun comes before the adjective.
We know “true” as a descriptive adjective or an attributive adjective. The adjective is directly adjacent to the noun it modifies for attributive adjectives.
Descriptive adjectives describe the noun and express its qualities, but it isn’t necessarily next to the noun all the time. For example, in the first sentence, “true” is attributive to “nature.” In the second sentence, “true” describes “legends.”
How Do You Use “Definitely True”?
We often use “definitely true” after a linking verb like “is” to indicate the subject is true without a doubt.
Using “Definitely True” in a Full Sentence
For example, in the full sentence, “This is definitely true,” we state our agreement with whatever the facts regarding “This” are. In this sentence, “this” is a relative pronoun, which connects through the linking verb “is” to the adverb phrase “definitely true.” Again, “definitely” tells us how “true” the statement is.
- It is definitely true that I know everyone in my high school because it’s a small town.
In this sentence, “definitely true” describes knowing everyone in high school because this individual lives in such a small town.
An intensifier enhances the word, and using “definitely” intensifies “true.” Other examples of intensifiers are “absolutely” or “completely.” A more popular intensifier is “very,” which we discuss later in this article.
When Can You Use “Definitely True?”
Can “definitely true” stand on its own? “Definitely!” As we discussed above, interjections are often on their own when answering a question or out of excitement. The same is true with this phrase as a declarative statement.
However, we do not recommend using it on its own as a sentence unless it is in informal settings.
- “This chocolate is really good,” she says. “Definitely true,” he says.
In this sentence, he is responding to her statement. In this case, “definitely true” is appropriate.
One way you can use it is as a declarative statement, in which you declare or state something.
- It is definitely true that my hair is brown.
The person’s hair is brown, so the statement is true.
In What Context Can You Use “Definitely True”?
We would use “definitely true” in contexts where we wish to affirm, without a doubt, that something is correct, whether in a courtroom, confirming weather conditions, a work environment, or some other circumstance.
The prosecution asked, “Is it true that you were with the defendant the night he committed the alleged crime?” “That is definitely true,” the witness stated.
In this sentence, someone asks the witness if he was with the accused at the time of the crime, and he affirms that it is absolutely true.
Another example might be what happens with the weather and as you see it. For example, the weather report says there is flooding on the roads. You can confirm it’s definitely true because, looking out the window, you can see the rain coming down in sheets.
Another example would be in a work environment where someone asked you if the safety manual said to wear gloves when using the machinery. You might confirm that is definitely true.
When Not to Use “Definitely True”
Don’t use it if you are unsure about current situations or facts or know something is not true. Also, using “definitely true” by itself is not ideal unless it responds to a question or comment. We definitely do not recommend it if you are writing a paper, article, or anything for work.
Let’s consider a few examples.
- It is going to rain today.
In this case, if you do not check the weather or see the sky outside, you do not know for sure about the rain. “Definitely true” is not the right response because you are unsure, so “possibly true” is a suitable answer.
Another scenario is if you know the statement is false, so you would flip the statement to mean the opposite.
- The sky is brown.
Instead of saying “definitely true,” the correct response to this statement is “that’s definitely not true” or “that’s false.” You are completely confident that the sky is not brown because you know the sky is blue.
If you hear a fact, but are unsure of the source, do your research to confirm or deny it.
- World War II ended in 1946.
World War II ended in 1945, so the above statement is “definitely not true.”
What Can You Use Instead of “Definitely True?”
The fact that “definitely true” is not the only statement available for us to use is “entirely true.” “Definitely” is also not the only adverb we use to enhance “true.” There are many intensifiers out there to choose from. An intensifier is an adverb we use to show force or emphasis (source).
- Absolutely true
- Definitely right
- Certainly the case
These phrases are synonyms, similar to the phrase but with different wording, sharing the same definition: that the statement is correct without a doubt (source).
What Is Another Way to Say “Very True?”
“Very true” is good to use as a personal statement of agreement or opinion. However, it is not necessary for facts. “Very” is a good intensifier for neutral or weak adjectives, especially for truths we might consider mundane.
- It is very true that the sun rose this morning.
- It is true that the sun rose this morning.
The sun rises every morning, so we know the statement is true. In the first sentence, “very” is not necessary, and the second sentence is more concise.
One alternative phrase to use in the place of “very true” or “definitely true” is “absolutely true,” using a much stronger intensifier.
- That is absolutely true.
For more information on this and the adverb “absolutely,” check out this article: “Is It Correct to Say ‘Absolutely True’?” Other words to use are “completely,” “exceptionally,” or just about any other adverb ending with the suffix -ly.
Another way to replace “definitely true” or “very true” is by using an intensifying adverb with another adjective.
One example is “certainly the case.”
- That is certainly the case.
Again, “that” is the relative pronoun followed by that fun linking verb “is” to connect with “certainly the case.” It has the same meaning as “definitely true.” There is no doubt the statement is correct.
A second example is “definitely right.”
- She is definitely right about that.
“Right” is an adjective that “definitely” modifies and is used in the same context as “true.”
Using Intensifiers With Adjectives
As we stated earlier, “very” is an adverb that we use a lot to intensify adjectives. However, it is not always the best intensifier to use, especially with strong adjectives
- This is a very delicious steak.
- This is an extremely delicious steak.
- This steak is very tender.
- This steak is extremely tender.
In the first sentence, we used “very” to intensify and modify the adjective “delicious.” However, the second sentence uses “extremely,” which fits better with the strong adjective.
How Do You Say Something Is “Accurate?”
“Accurate” is an adjective and means “correct” or “exact.”
- The direction of the arrow is accurate.
In this sentence, “accurate” modifies “arrow” and shows the direction is exact to its intended target.
- If you don’t tell the doctor your symptoms, they cannot give you accurate treatment.
In this sentence, “accurate” is modifying “treatment.” You need to tell the doctor all of your symptoms to get the correct help.
“Accuracy” Is Important
The word “accuracy” is a noun meaning the state or quality of being correct. When measuring, “accuracy” is the closeness to a specific area or value.
- She threw the darts with surprising accuracy.
In this sentence, she is accurate with her throws, and the measure of “accuracy” is the dart’s proximity to the bullseye. She is throwing the darts correctly, so she is hitting the target.
Synonyms are also available to use in place of “accurate.”
- The direction of the arrow is on the mark.
In this sentence, “on the mark” functions in the same way as “accurate.” They both mean “exact” or “correct.”
“Accurate” reacts as an adverb when you add the -ly suffix.
- We still cannot accurately predict an earthquake with all of our technology.
In this sentence, “accurately” modifies and intensifies “predict,” which is a verb that means saying or estimating something will happen in the future or a consequence of something that happens.
There are many ways to study earthquakes and prevent a large loss of life and destruction, but technology is not advanced enough to stop them or warn people beforehand.
Intensifiers help “accurate” become without a doubt “correct” or “true.”
- This blood pressure monitor is extremely accurate.
In this sentence, “extremely” modifies and intensifies “accurate,” and they both modify the blood pressure monitor. “Monitor” is the noun, and “blood” and “pressure” describe the “monitor.”
Adverbs of Degree, Manner, Frequency, Place, or Time
We use adverbs in many ways, but mostly in degree, manner, frequency, place, or time (source).
- Degree: how much, what extent
- Manner: how something happens
- Frequency: how often
- Place: where
- Time: when
So, what category does “definitely” fall under? It is an adverb of manner that falls under a specific group we might refer to as adverbs of certainty. We use them to say how sure or “certain” we are of something. They usually go in the middle of the sentence.
Some examples are “certainly,” “definitely,” and “probably,” meaning in a certain, definite, or probable manner.
- He is certainly right about that.
We use “certainly” after “is” in the pattern of am/are/is/was/were + adverb.
- She will probably come out with us.
We use “probably” after “will” in the auxiliary verb + adverb pattern. Examples include “will,” “would,” “should,” “could,” and “be.” This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
- I definitely feel better.
We use “definitely” before “feel” in the pattern of an adverb + another verb.
“Definitely true” is a phrase that you use in a sentence or as a response to someone’s statement or question. In formal settings, you use it within a larger sentence, especially in writing.
In informal settings, you use it to respond to someone else as a declarative statement. Many use it in conversation with friends or family, and it is an easy way to express our affirmation of something.