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The word "specific" is the opposite of "general." Whereas something general is broad and wide, something specific is narrow and detailed. If something is specific, it might be exact or clear. The idea, the place, the person or the thing is understood.

  • I don’t understand what you’re asking for. Can you be more specific, please?
  • Mary has some specific plans for decorating her house.
  • Kevin drew out some very specific directions to get to his house.
  • The people living in Haiti have some specific needs that aren’t being met.
  • You want to buy a coat for spring? Anything specific?

The word "specifically" is a common adverb. It’s hard to pronounce, but it’s worth practicing:

spe ci fi cally

The accent is on the second syllable. The fourth syllable sounds like "clee." Specifically.

  • I specifically asked for a table by the window.
  • The judge specifically stated his reasons for giving the man a harsh sentence.
  • Sheila specifically requested that her hair be cut by Kevin.
  • Can you tell me specifically what you’re looking for?

Note: The word "specific" is related to the word "special." Sometimes you can use "special" in place of specific:

Are you looking for anything specific?

Are you looking for anything special?

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March 2, 2013



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