Use of respectively

‘Respectively’ is an adverb that is often misused by non-native English speakers. It means “in the order given” and should only be used if your sentence would be unclear without it.

Example:

Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen detector flows were set at 85, 7, and 4 mL/min, respectively.

The use of respectively here makes it clear that the first gas mentioned goes with the first number, the second gas goes with the second number, and the third gas with the third number.


More examples:

BAD: The two values were 143.2 and 21.6, respectively.
GOOD: The two values were 143.2 and 21.6.

BAD: The two tubes were labeled B and S, respectively.
GOOD: The tubes containing blood and saline were labeled B and S, respectively.


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