AEE 662: Why the Word “Seriously” Isn’t Always So Serious in English

serious in English native conversations

Is the word “serious” always used in a serious way?

Not always! When you talk with native English speakers you will hear them use it in less serious ways.

Today you’ll find out the other meanings for it and you’ll learn how to use it in new ways.

 

According to dictionary.com, there are 3 definitions of this word:

1. in a serious manner:

He shook his head seriously.

He cleared his throat seriously.

 

2. to an alarmingly grave extent:

My cousin is seriously ill.

You look seriously angry.

 

3. with genuine, earnest intent; sincerely:

Seriously, kids, we have to get home before dark.

Seriously, you need to get to work on time on Monday.

 

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Seriously in the 3rd definition is used very conversationally, even when it’s not serious!

In the third example, the person is still serous.

How can this not be used in a serious way?

 

Here are some examples:

1) It’s been too long! We seriously have to get together for lunch.

(strong form of really, or we should!)

 

2)

A: Isn’t Bruno Mars amazing?

B: Seriously! He’s so talented. I love his music.

(as a form of enthusiastic agreement)

 

3) I’m seriously thinking of going to the beach and just relaxing!

 

4) That’s so weird! I was seriously just about to call you! (run into someone)

 

Try to listen for natives using “seriously” in a different way.

After you have heard it a few times you can start to use it.

Remember, focus on Connection NOT Perfection!

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