Is using "similarly" in this sentence correct?


They all are dressed up similarly for the party.

Is this use of similarly correct/appropriate? I did not get many results when I looked this phrase up on Google. I also tried the phrase with "alike" and "same" in place of "similarly" with no better results.

Can anyone suggest an alternative for similarly here?


Posted 2013-03-29T22:46:18.107

Reputation: 3 336

Similarly means almost alike, almost the same. So the two expressions are not equivalent. The usage is indeed correct; it means all of the people are dressed in a manner that is nearly identical. – WendiKidd – 2013-03-29T23:01:33.570

It's not clear from the sentence alone whether you are trying to say that the people are dressed up to a similar extent (level of formality), in a similar fashion, or simply with the end result of looking similar to one another. This ambiguity may be why the phrase sounds strange to me and why you can't find it elsewhere. Can you provide more context about the situation? – Tyler James Young – 2014-10-15T16:17:25.377



This is really a question about style rather than grammar or usage or even word choice.

A better sentence is:

They are all similarly dressed up for the party.


They're all similarly dressed up for the party.

A different word order changes the sound and rhythm of the sentence. The version with the contraction is more natural and idiomatic than the one without it.

I agree with WendiKidd that "similarly" and "alike" are not equivalent, so "dressed up alike" neither says what you mean nor means what you want to say.


Posted 2013-03-29T22:46:18.107



I don't think the usage is wrong, but it seems a bit odd sounding to me.

I think alike is a good choice.

They all are dressed up alike for the party.


Posted 2013-03-29T22:46:18.107


1This brings up a point I hadn't considered; what if the OP does in fact mean they were all dressed exactly the same? If so, alike is indeed the correct word; if they are dressed almost the same, similarly is in fact correct. – WendiKidd – 2013-03-30T00:04:34.223

2@Wendi: Experience tells me that even though the dressed-up men will all be wearing, say, a black tuxedo & a white bow tie, & the women, say, fancy ball gowns, the men's tuxes will vary to some extent, & the women's gowns will vary significantly, unless a uniform is prescribed & any and all differences are proscribed. – None – 2013-03-30T00:18:15.600

@BillFranke Agreed; that's my inner nerd coming out there, I was thinking along the lines of a costume party. (Like that Big Bang Theory episode where they all end up dressing up like Flash.)

– WendiKidd – 2013-03-30T00:22:48.310


Everyone at the party entered in a similar fashion. From the way they walked, talked, dressed and wore their accessories. or They all looked suprisingly similar.

This is tough because I don't know the context or how this is being written. 'They are' hints that it is happening now instead of 'they were'.

With their outfits, dress, and style they all looked strikingly similar.


Posted 2013-03-29T22:46:18.107

Reputation: 1