You played slightly better/lightly better

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Pirulo1234

Senior Member
Spanish
Hello,

According to the WR Dictionary, one of the aceptions for the word "lightly" is "slightly". Does this mean than I could always use the word "lightly" in any context? For example:

- I got 20 points in this game, but you played slightly better (could I also say "lightly better"?)

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Thanks!
 
  • Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    No.
    As you can see from the dictionary entry, only one of the definitions equates lightly with slightly.
     

    Pirulo1234

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    No.
    As you can see from the dictionary entry, only one of the definitions equates lightly with slightly.
    But using logic, if one of the definitions of the word “lightly” is “slightly”, then we can deduce that “lightly” is a bigger concept that includes “slightly” in it, so we could use “lightly” instead of “slightly”(but not the other way round)... is this definition wrong? 😖
     

    Lee Ann Sosa

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Pirulo, you make me laugh (in a good way). You can never, ever say: lightly better. You just can't.
     

    pmb327

    Senior Member
    English US
    You're assuming that lightly can always be used to mean slightly. This is not true because there are meanings for lightly that do not equate to slightly (see examples in (1) and (3) of your given definition of lightly). Looking at it the other way around, slightly has meanings beyond lightly, for example it can mean slenderly, as in slightly built. Or, as in your example sentence, slightly can mean a little.
    I got 20 points in this game, but you played slightly better
    You can't substitute lightly here because slightly is not being used as in sense (2) of your definition.
     

    Pirulo1234

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    You're assuming that lightly can always be used to mean slightly. This is not true because there are meanings for lightly that do not equate to slightly (see examples in (1) and (3) of your given definition of lightly). Looking at it the other way around, slightly has meanings beyond lightly, for example it can mean slenderly, as in slightly built. Or, as in your example sentence, slightly can mean a little.

    You can't substitute lightly here because slightly is not being used as in sense (2) of your definition.
    Mmm... to be honest, in my sentence it’s used as a synonym of “ligeramente” (Jugaste ligeramente mejor), so it is used as in sense (2) of my definition... that’s why I don’t understand it
     
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