When you ‘listen’ to someone speaking in a conversation, you can respond with short phrases that add to the conversation. These utterances carry information such as ‘certainty‘ and sometimes a single word like an adverb is all you might say or just add the negative version with ‘NOT‘. Here is a negative example:
Here is a list of the most frequent one-word (adverb) responses to questions.
This list came from a search in the iWeb corpus, and then it had manual removal of any adverbs that clearly have no possibility of being related to certainty. To some degree being related to certainty requires context.
? _RR .
*not all are to do with certainty.
1 ? ABSOLUTELY. 7012
*In the above example it is a rhetorical question answered by the same person. Also, note ‘sure‘ is an adjective, but it still is a short response token that refers to certainty.
2 ? MAYBE. 5786
Are they unquestionably, and undeniably stupid?
3 ? SURE. 5764
4 ? PROBABLY. 2954
5 ? PERHAPS. 2500
6 ? HARDLY. 1647
9 ? DEFINITELY. 1412
10 ? POSSIBLY. 1326
15 ? EXACTLY. 959
17 ? CERTAINLY. 852
18 ? SERIOUSLY. 774
22 ? REALLY. 312
24 ? INDEED. 250
26 ? UNDOUBTEDLY. 180
27 ? TOTALLY. 171
31 ? OBVIOUSLY. 141
35 ? APPARENTLY. 85
41 ? POTENTIALLY. 65
43 ? NATURALLY. 58
44 ? SOMEWHAT. 55
45 ? KINDA. 54
47 ? SURELY. 48
48 ? MOSTLY. 45
51 ? COMPLETELY. 41
57 ? PRECISELY. 36
59 ? LITERALLY. 35
62 ? EXTREMELY. 32
65 ? UNQUESTIONABLY. 31
67 ? PARTLY. 27
68 ? QUITE. 27
70 ? BARELY. 25
77 ? CLEARLY. 19
78 ? EVENTUALLY. 19
81 ? ARGUABLY. 17
82 ? JUST. 17
83 ? PARTIALLY. 16
87 ? UNDENIABLY. 14
88 ? SLIGHTLY. 14
C1 adverbs: partially, respectively, somewhat, unquestionably
Here we asked AI to complete more of our data:
- HARDLY: Do you think he will pass the exam? Hardly.
- DEFINITELY: Are you coming to the party? Definitely.
- POSSIBLY: Can you finish the project by tomorrow? Possibly.
- EXACTLY: Is this what you wanted? Exactly.
- CERTAINLY: Will you help me with this? Certainly.
- SERIOUSLY: Are you joking? Seriously.
- REALLY: Do you like this movie? Really.
- INDEED: Is he a good friend? Indeed.
- UNDOUBTEDLY: Is she the best singer in the world? Undoubtedly.
- TOTALLY: Are you satisfied with the service? Totally.
- OBVIOUSLY: Did you study for the test? Obviously.
- APPARENTLY: Did he tell you the truth? Apparently.
- POTENTIALLY: Could this be dangerous? Potentially.
- NATURALLY: Do you love your family? Naturally.
- SOMEWHAT: Are you feeling better? Somewhat.
- KINDA: Do you like this song? Kinda.
- SURELY: Will you keep your promise? Surely.
- MOSTLY: Are you happy with your life? Mostly.
- COMPLETELY: Do you trust him? Completely.
- PRECISELY: Is this the right answer? Precisely.
A search for the negative responses in NOW corpus:
? _RR not .
1 ? PROBABLY NOT. 6390
2 ? ABSOLUTELY NOT. 2613
3 ? MAYBE NOT. 1345
4 ? CERTAINLY NOT. 692
5 ? PERHAPS NOT. 641
6 ? DEFINITELY NOT. 493
7 ? APPARENTLY NOT. 485
8 ? SURELY NOT. 439
9 ? OBVIOUSLY NOT. 309
10 ? CLEARLY NOT. 182
11 ? POSSIBLY NOT. 170
12 ? WHY NOT. 167
13 ? LIKELY NOT. 124
14 ? UNFORTUNATELY NOT. 95
15 ? HOPEFULLY NOT. 74
Note that in the English Vocabulary Profile, this is considered C1:
certainly/definitely/hopefully not = used after an adverb in short, negative replies
AI completed our data for us:
- ABSOLUTELY NOT: Do you agree with his decision? Absolutely not.
- MAYBE NOT: Are you going to buy that dress? Maybe not.
- CERTAINLY NOT: Will you ever forgive him? Certainly not.
- PERHAPS NOT: Is this the best solution? Perhaps not.
- DEFINITELY NOT: Do you want to try this food? Definitely not.
- APPARENTLY NOT: Did she get your message? Apparently not.
- SURELY NOT: Are you afraid of him? Surely not.
- OBVIOUSLY NOT: Do you care about me? Obviously not.
- CLEARLY NOT: Are you listening to me? Clearly not.
- POSSIBLY NOT: Can we make it on time? Possibly not.
- WHY NOT: Do you want to join us? Why not.
- LIKELY NOT: Will he change his mind? Likely not.
- UNFORTUNATELY NOT: Did you win the lottery? Unfortunately not.
- HOPEFULLY NOT: Will it rain tomorrow? Hopefully not.