It sure is / It surely is

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New Member
Russian/Ukrainian - Ukraine
Could someone clarify whether the usage of sure/surely is strict for such phrases?
Is it OK to use 'sure' where 'surely' is more grammatically fitting?

For instance, here's an example:

-That was a lot of work!
-It sure was!

Thanks in advance.
  • Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Both forms are idiomatic, but I would not call them "strict" because they sure/surely belong to informal speech.
    (Note that both express certainty, unlike the same word in the expression "surely you cannot be serious?" - which expresses incredulity.)


    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    Australians, in my experience, would be very unlikely to say "It surely was" and would stick to "It sure was". "It surely was" sounds distinctly American, since I've probably only ever heard it on tv/in movies. In fact I can't say it in my head without a southern american accent :)
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