This one crops up all the time. Someone writes something like:
I made that mistake purposefully.
She stood there purposely and refused to let me pass.
And all the grammar fiends come down on them for such basic errors.
So once and for all, here’s the difference between these two words.
purposely = intentionally = on purpose
Beckham purposely kicked the Argentinian player.
Beckham intentionally kicked the Argentinian player.
Beckham kicked the Argentinian player on purpose.
In other words, it was a planned event and it wasn’t an accident.
On the other hand:
purposefully = with determination
The referee held the red card up purposefully.
The referee held the red card up with determination.
In other words, the referee held the card strongly and forcefully and in order to serve a purpose; in order to say something strong.
Purposefully vs Purposely
So very roughly speaking, purposely is about the reason you do something and purposefully is how you do something.
Meanwhile, if it helps, here are some opposites:
purposely ≠ by mistake
purposefully ≠ timidly
And just complicate things a little more before finishing, both of these words use the adjective, purposeful.
It was a purposeful kick from Beckham.
A purposeful grimace from the referee.