is not very much difference in meaning or in use when these emphasizing
adjectives are used to express strong agreement with a statement,
question or suggestion.
is perhaps the strongest. If you use exactly, you are emphasizing
that what someone has said is 100% correct.
Sandra look stunning in that hat?
Oh, absolutely! I couldn't agree more.
is a complete and utter fool.
Absolutely! / Definitely! / Exactly!
you come shopping with me on Saturday?
Definitely! / Certainly!
we can't find those tickets, we shan't be able to get into the
you going to Turkey again this summer?
Definitely! Without a doubt!
emphasizing adverbs are normally used with adjectives that are
in themselves already quite absolute. They give even greater emphasis
to what is said.
advice was invaluable ?absolutely invaluable!
was simply amazed when she said that she was going to
was perfectly clear that she was serious and I was totally
powerless to stop her.
felt that she was completely wrong to even think about
it and I am utterly exhausted by it all.
it is used in response to a request or suggestion, surely
means certainly and they can be used interchangeably.
you give me a hand washing up?
Surely! / Certainly! / No problem!
you join us for supper tonight?
Surely! Where are you eating?
surely can also be used to express the speaker's surprise
that something is happening. Certainly CANNOT be used in
the following and, as you say them to yourselves, give surely
fairly heavy stress:
surely not going out again tonight, are you? You went out
that can't be Felicity standing over there? I thought she
was in Australia.
can't get any reply, but there's surely somebody at home.
They can't all be out.
you’re not suggesting she poisoned him on purpose?
I can't believe you could think that!