Difference Between Alternately and Alternatively | Alternately vs Alternatively

The key difference between alternately and alternatively is that alternately means one after another or consecutively whereas alternatively means another choice or possibility.

Alternately and alternatively are two adverbs that stem from the word alternate, which comes from the Latin word alternatus. However, there is a distinct difference between alternately and alternatively in terms of meaning and usage. It is also important to note that in American English, these two words are used interchangeably.


1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What Does Alternately Mean
3. What Does Alternatively Mean
4. Similarities Between Alternately and Alternatively
5. Side by Side Comparison – Alternately vs Alternatively in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What Does Alternately Mean?

Alternately is an adverb derived from the word alternate. Thus, this adverb means one thing after another, several things taken in turn, or, consecutively. For example, if someone says that he jogs on alternate days, this means he goes jogging on consecutive days – he jogs on one day, doesn’t jog the next day, but goes jogging the following day, etc. Moreover, you can use this adverb to describe two things continually following and succeeded by each other.