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Most Definitely: Meaning and Proper Usage

There’s a variety of common expressions you hear people say when conversing in American English. One of these expressions is “most definitely”. Accordingly, part of mastering American English understanding the different ways you can correctly use this phrase.

There are two primary ways to use the phrase “most definitely.” The first way is to give a strong affirmative answer to a question someone asks you. The second way is to express your agreement with what another person said emphatically. In “most definitely” the word definitely provides certainty while most acts to reinforce and intensify the statement or response further.

Let’s provide some examples and clarifications to understand better the correct usage of this widely used English phrase.

How Do You Use “Most Definitely” in a Sentence?

There are different ways to use “most definitely” in a sentence, and your usage of the phrase may vary depending on where you place it within a sentence.

Alternatively, you may use “most definitely” as a standalone statement or in response to a question posed to you.

When beginning a statement with “most definitely”:

  • Most definitely, it will snow this winter.

When ending a statement  with “most definitely”:

  • I will buy a new iPhone when prices go down by 50%, most definitely!

You can also use it to add emphasis in the middle of a sentence before a regular verb or after a linking verb (source).

  • COVID-19 is most definitely spreading at uncontrollable rates in many countries.

Alternatively, you can make a standalone statement or respond only by saying, “Most Definitely.” 

As A Strong Affirmative Answer to a Question

We’ve mentioned that you can use “most definitely” when you want to express an affirmative answer to a question or when you want to indicate that you agree with what another person said emphatically.

Here’s an example of using “most definitely” to give a strong affirmative answer:

Speaker 1: If you had a choice, would you rather work from home?Speaker 2: Most definitely!

Speaker 1: It’s your birthday tomorrow. Do you have any plans to celebrate the occasion?

Speaker 2: Most definitely!

To Express Agreement

When someone states something you agree with, you can simply say, “Most definitely.”

Speaker 1: It’s very dark outside. It will probably rain hard.
Speaker 2: Most definitely.

You can also use “most definitely” to express that you strongly agree. Consider the following examples:

most definitely agree with what you said about the need to observe social distancing during this pandemic properly.

Speaker 1: I believe we should properly observe social distancing during the pandemic.

Speaker 2: Most definitely!

To Express Absolute Certainty

A person may express absolute certainty by saying, “Most definitely.” When someone says, “Most definitely,” he or she wants to say that something is absolutely true.

Example 1: Lionsgate CEO John Feltheimer has confirmed that John Wick 5 is also in the works, which means that John Wick is most definitely back for at least two upcoming movie installments.

Example 2: I most definitely saw people fighting over a pack of toilet rolls in the supermarket yesterday.

When You Want to Be Reassuring

When you want to give an assuring answer to someone, you can simply say, “Most definitely!”

Speaker 1: I forgot to ask your mom. Are you sure it’s okay for me to bring a friend to your family dinner tonight?

Speaker 2: Most definitely!

Speaker 1: You missed the last two therapy sessions. Are you really going to make it this time?

Speaker 2: Most definitely.

To Express A Strong Opinion

You can also use “most definitely” to emphasize a firm opinion. At times, people say “most definitely” when they have a strong opinion on a particular topic or issue.

Example 1: I most definitely believe that social distancing is an effective deterrent against the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Example 2: I most definitely think Keanu Reeves is perfect for the role of John Wick.

To Emphasize A Firm Intention

One other way to correctly use the phrase “most definitely” is to emphasize a firm intention. For instance, you might hear a speaker say “most definitely” when he or she wants to assure another person of his or her intentions.

Example 1: I will most definitely watch John Wick 4 and 5 when they come out in theaters.

Example 2: Don’t worry, I will most definitely keep staying home unless there’s a need to go out for work or grocery shopping.

For more help with English grammar, you can consult Dreyer’s English. For more guidance on using the proper verb, you may also want to review our article, “There Were or There Was: Differences in Context and Use

What’s Another Phrase for “Most Definitely”?

You can use other words and phrases to convey the same meaning as “most definitely,” such as “without a doubt” and “without question.” Let’s look at this list of words below that you can use interchangeably with “most definitely.” 

Here are some examples using the phrases “without a doubt or without question”:

Journalist: Can children carry COVID-19 and spread it? Dr. Lara Shekerdemian: I think the answer is conclusive, without a doubt – yes.

Without question, the Sistine Chapel Ceiling was Michelangelo’s most notable work.

Some standalone responses include “unquestionably,” “absolutely,” and “certainly”:

Speaker 1: COVID-19 has changed the economic landscape on a global scale.

Speaker 2: Unquestionably.

Speaker 1: Is early morning sun really good for your health?

Speaker 2: Absolutely.

I can certainly wait to read the book until I see the film. I don’t want any spoilers.

A few other phrases that are very similar to “most definitely” include “most certain,” “most certainly,” “most surely,” and “most assuredly”:

Speaker 1: Are you sure Prince Harry and Meghan Markle bought a luxurious, multi-million dollar home in Santa Barbara, California? Speaker 2: I saw it in the news, so I am most certain that is the case.

I will most certainly delay reading the book until I get to see the film. I don’t want any spoilers.

Once they lift the border restrictions, I will most surely visit you.

Please consider hiring me. I am most assuredly the person you need for this position.

For other word substitutions that you can use in English conversations, you can search through The Oxford New Essential Dictionary

Is “Most Definitely” Really Correct?

The debate is ongoing as to the acceptability and correctness of the phrase “most definitely” since it is a double affirmative. Double affirmatives carry the same notoriety as double negatives, raising style issues.

Some opine that these are acceptable for conversational English, that is, for nonstandard use only. However, most wordsmiths do not recommend that you use double affirmatives nor double negatives in written and formal English (source).

Grammarians consider the phrase “most definitely” as redundant and unnecessary in spoken or written English, and editors recommend the removal of tautology in writing, considering it a fault of style (source).

Others challenge the correctness of this expression on account of its meaning and degree. If one takes the word “definitely” to mean absolute certainty, then what more could you add to absolute certitude?

This is the same challenge that the expression “most definite” faces when used interchangeably with “most definitely.” Grammarians point out that something is either definite or not, and it cannot be more or less definite. This article was written for

Hence, they deem “more definite” and even “most definite” to be unrealistic concepts.

We cannot deny, however, that, similar to “most definite,” the expression “most definitely” is widely used. Even dictionaries like Collins and Oxford use them in sentence examples.

Are “Most Definite” and “Most Definitely” the Same?

Concerning meaning, you can use the phrases “most definite” and “most definitely” to express absolute certainty. However, they are different since “most definite” functions as a noun while “most definitely” functions as an adverb.

  • I am most definite that I can make it to the dinner party tonight.
  • I can most definitely make it to the dinner party tonight.

The use of “most definite” can differ in other ways. For example, you can use this expression to mean the most clear or clearest. Here are some sentence examples for clarification:

Example 1: Georgia O’Keeffe, the mother of American modernism, said, “The abstraction is the most definite form for the intangible thing in myself that I can only clarify in paint.”

Example 2: The third panelist gave the most definite explanation to my inquiry on COVID-19 vaccines.

Image by Andrea Picquadio via Pexels

Final Thoughts

The two main ways to correctly use the phrase “most definitely” is to give a strong affirmative answer to a question and to express that you strongly agree with another person’s statement or view.

Many situations present the opportunity to use the phrase “most definitely,” and, with practice, you can master this English expression and use it with ease.

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Friday 4th of September 2020

[…] But as we pointed out in the opening paragraph, language continues to evolve with usage. For another example of a common expression in transition, read, “Most Definitely: Understanding the Different Possible Ways this Phrase is Correctly Used.”  […]

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