Severally or Several times?

Most people believe that ‘severally’ means ‘several times’ and that makes it a commonly misused word.

‘Severally’, contrary to popular opinion, means: one at a time, each by itself (separately); apart from others (independently); each in turn (respectively). When someone does something severally, it doesn’t mean the person did it repeatedly (according to popular belief), it actually means the person did it individually or independently or separately or the action was carried out respectively as the case may be.

For example, you can say: “Although they live together, they are severally responsible for feeding.” This means that feeding is not a joint venture, each individual is responsible for how to feed. You can also say: “Dad, Mom, Jack, and Jill entered grandpa’s hospital room severally because he was not allowed to have more than one visitor in the room per time.” This means that grandpa’s visitors entered his room respectively.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to express that something was done more than two times or repeatedly, for example, knocking a door; you shouldn’t say: “I knocked the door severally before it was opened.”❌ You should rather say: “I knocked the door several times (or many times) before it was opened.”✔️


1. They are 3-piece jewelry sets but she sold them…………..
2. We spoke………….before he travelled.
3. The supervisor paired them…………even when it was obvious that they preferred to work………..


© 2018 AyotundeElegbeleye
Jesus is LORD!

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