'Respectfully' vs 'Respectively': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on August 17, 2023

If you are looking for the difference between 'respectfully' vs. 'respectively,' you are in luck!

Here is the short answer:

  • 'Respectfully' is an adverb that means showing respect.
  • 'Respectively' is an adverb that means separately or in a specific order. 

There is much more to learn about these terms. So, keep reading!

What is the Difference Between 'Respectfully' vs. 'Respectively?'

Both of these terms start with the base word respect. However, 'respectfully' ends with the fully suffix. The fully suffix means to do something with a specific quality or attribute.

  • So, the term 'respectfully' means to do something with complete respect. It can also be used as a salutation to express that you are respectfully sending a message.
  • The latter term, 'respectively,' contains two suffixes, ive and ly. Without the ly ending, the word is respective, an adjective that means separate or individual.

When you add the ly ending to respective, it changes the word into an adverb. The ly ending means every, and you can use it to turn an adjective into an adverb. So, the term 'respectively' means each one separately.

Definition of 'Respectfully': What Does 'Respectfully' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the adjective 'respectfully' means:

  • Showing or marked by respect or deference

Synonyms of 'Respectfully'

Synonyms are helpful because you can use them instead of a word to prevent your writing from becoming monotonous. So, here are some synonyms for 'respectfully.'

  • Lovingly
  • Reverently
  • Positively
  • Favorably
  • Appreciatively
  • Admiringly
  • Regardfully
  • Positively
  • Fearfully
  • Civilly
  • Bashfully
  • Meekly
  • Courteously
  • Humbly
  • Sheepishly
  • Deferentially
  • Timorously
  • Modestly
  • Submissively
  • Modestly
  • Adjectly

Antonyms of 'Respectfully'

Antonyms are the opposite of synonyms. So, these are the words you would not want to use to replace 'respectfully.'

  • Negatively
  • Unfavorably
  • Adversely
  • Scornfully
  • Disapprovingly
  • Captiously
  • Hypercritically
  • Unflatteringly
  • Boldly
  • Proudly
  • Brazenly
  • Arrogantly
  • Contemptuously

Definition of 'Respectively': What Does 'Respectively' Mean?

The same defines the adverb 'respectively' as:

  • In a specified order

It can also mean:

  • Separately

Synonyms of 'Respectively'

Here are the synonyms you can use in place of 'respectively.'

  • Independently
  • Individually
  • Per
  • All
  • Each
  • Apart
  • Separately

Antonyms of 'Respectively'

These terms are opposites of 'respectively.'

  • Together
  • Collectively
  • Aggregately

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Respectfully' vs. 'Respectively'

Next, let's look at the pronunciation of these two words. When using words that sound similar, it is essential to pronounce them correctly so people know what term you mean.

So, here is a pronunciation guide that you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'respectfully':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'respectively':


When and How to Use 'Respectfully' vs. 'Respectively?'

You've learned a lot about 'respectfully' vs. 'respectively.' So, here are some tips for when and how to use them.

  • Use 'respectfully' to show that you are acting or showing respect.

For example, you might say something like:

You should act respectfully around your parents and elders if you want them to treat you respectfully. 

  • Use 'respectfully' to end a message.

As an example, you could say:

Please sign up for the webinar today to reserve your spot. Otherwise, you may not be able to attend this session. Respectfully, Jill Johnson. 

  • Use 'respectfully' to say that you agree with someone else but still respect the person you are addressing.

For example, I might say:

Respectfully, I agree with your competitor. I think this property is worth more than your suggested listing price. 

  • Use 'respectively' to say that something is specific to a specific item in a list.

So, you might say:

We went to the volleyball tournament this weekend. The blue and green teams had scores of 20 and 40, respectively.

Sample Sentences Using 'Respectfully' vs. 'Respectively'

You learned the definitions, pronunciations, and when to use 'respectfully' vs. 'respectively.' But before you go, read these sample sentences using 'respectfully' vs. 'respectively' to ensure you know how to use each.


  • I respectfully suggest that you submit your application to the board for consideration.
  • Please send your requests for maintenance to our main office and contact me directly if you have any questions. Respectfully, Kimberly Graham.
  • I respectfully agree with the appraiser this ring is worth between $10,000 and $12,500.
  • Respectfully listen to the presentation. Then, form your opinion about the program and whether or not you want to participate.
  • I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I respectfully agree with Susan the property is not worth the asking price.
  • Please send back the attached paperwork filled out to the best of your ability. Respectfully yours, Jim Tompkins.


  • In the above diagram, the figures are 1.537 and 2.974, respectively.
  • In the last game, the Wildcats, Wolverines, and Rockets scored 75, 66, and 110 points, respectively.
  • The candidates had 1,245,645 and 1,267,450 votes, respectively. So the race was close.
  • The contestants placed fourth and fifth, respectively, in the writing competition.
  • He assigned the students extra credit assignments based on their participation in class. Tim and Tina received two and three assignments, respectively.
  • The list is broken down into two colors red and green. The value is $200,000 and $300,000, respectively.


  • I respectfully request that you send me the figures for quarters one and two, respectively.
  • The figures are 398 and 405, respectively. Beyond that, I respectfully decline to answer your question.
  • Below are the sales totals for August and September, respectively. Please review them and advise if you have any questions. Respectfully yours, Kim Jones.

Recap: The Difference Between 'Respectfully' vs. 'Respectively'

Wow! We covered a ton of information. So, let's do a quick review of the difference between 'respectfully' vs. 'respectively':

  • 'Respectfully' is an adverb that means to do something with respect.
  • 'Respectively' is an adverb that means that something addresses each item separately. 

You should be able to identify when to use 'respectfully' and 'respectively.' However, if you ever forget, you can always return to this guide for a quick review of this lesson.

You can also learn about other commonly misused terms in the confusing words section here. Each post contains definitions, grammar rules, usage tips, and sample sentences. So, whether you are a writer looking to improve your skills or an English language learner, these lessons can help you expand your vocabulary and learn how to use words in different.

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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