Probably, Probaly

The Missing B Will Probaly Sting You If You Don’t Watch Out

by Owen Fourie

Have you seen the missing B? A better way to phrase this question would be, “Have you noticed that a B is missing?”

It is noticeable and widespread across the Internet. Besides, it is mischievous, and it can sting you if you do not take care.

How is it that this B is missing?

Two conditions have caused this B to disappear. One is ignorance, and the other is carelessness.

There is no justification for either condition. The remedy for ignorance is information. The cure for carelessness is for all of us to wake up to our responsibility to communicate clearly and correctly.

Where should you notice that this B is missing?

You should see that this B is missing in a “word” that is rife on the Internet. Search for probaly, and you will see.

The problem with probaly is that it isn’t an English word. It does not belong in the language. It exists in writing only by the ignorance and the carelessness that have given it an illegitimate place.

Although it has recognition in informal speech, it should not be heard in formal speech, nor should it be seen in formal writing. The only occasion for its appearance in writing is when an author’s created character speaks like that.

What is the proper place for the missing B?

Restoring the B to its rightful place will locate it as the second B in the word probably.

How will this B sting you if it goes missing once again?

If you say probaly in formal speech or write probaly in a formal paper, it will sting you because your usage of the English language will be noted to be not up to the required standard. Avoid this by saying “prob-a-bly” and writing probably.

The related words probable and probability cannot be spoken without the second B. Try omitting the second B and you’ll be uttering nonsense. If you can’t let the second B escape from these two words, is there any justification for saying or writing probaly?


If you are aware of other words that have been corrupted in speech and, consequently, written incorrectly, mention them here for discussion. Your comments, observations, and questions are welcome.

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