Sure vs. Surely


Sure means to be confident that you know something or that something is true or correct. Sure is an adjective and it modifies nouns or pronouns. Surely means to express a degree of certainty. Surely is an adverb and it modifies verbs, adjectives, or adverbs: It is a sure thing, it is surely humid inside. In the first sentence, ‘thing’ is a noun and an adjective ‘sure’ modifies it. In second sentence, ‘humid’ is an adjective and an adverb ‘surely’ modifies it.

The word sure means that you are certain; without any doubt or it is an affirmation.


Example sentences of sure

That’s Jessica’s ex-husband.’ ‘Are you sure?’

‘What time does the movie start?’ ‘I’m not sure.’

Are you sure that you know how to solve this tricky math problem?

My brother, I felt sure, had not met her before.

I’m not sure if I’ll be reaching the airport in time.

He wasn’t even sure of his car’s plate number. 

‘That’s the car that met with an accident last night.’ ‘Are you quite sure about that?

In writing, we often prefer to use certain rather than sure, because it sounds more formal.


 More example sentences of sure

‘What’s wrong with her?’ ‘I’m not really sure.

I’m sure (that) I left my wallet on the cab.

I’m not 100 percent sure how to tell her husband’s death.

I feel absolutely sure (that) Jessica has made the right decision about her career.

It now seems sure (that) the election rallies have resulted in the spread of the disease.

Amelia isn’t sure whether/if she’ll be able to come to the party or not.

We arrived at the station early to be sure of getting a good seat.

There is only one sure way of finding out the truth.

She is sure to do well on the concert.

They are sure that their dog was stolen from their house.

May I borrow your lawn mower? Sure!


Also notice that when ‘sure’ is used as an adverb, it has the same meaning as ‘surely.’ However, we can only use it in informal situations: This pudding sure is good!


When we use surely, we are hoping that the listener will agree with us.


Example sentences of surely

Emma will surely attend the wedding despite all differences with Jack.  (I want you to agree with me that Emma will attend the wedding)

Surely you will be fined if you go out without wearing mask. (I want you to agree with me that it is against the advisory of government)

The Prime Minister will surely be able to assure the House of that incident.

Were that true, ground operations should surely be averted to avoid a full-fledged war.

Her tremendous form must surely have surprised even his biggest critics.


 More example sentences of surely

It’s surely quicker if you have a bike.

It will surely be cloudy today.

Surely, you are capable of getting rid of this problem. (This is not difficult to do so)

 If that is not the case, then digging into his past is surely detectives’ job.

If Father has not made any will, then surely the house goes automatically to all siblings equally.

We also use surely, especially in negative question forms, to show surprise:

Surely she’s not going to resign after her breakup with her employer. (I am surprised that she’s going to resign after break up with her employer)

Surely you won’t be interested in a job like that? (I am surprised that you will be interested in a job like that)


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