A reader who edits financial news has observed that some writers seem to be unaware of the specific connotation of allegedly and gives this example:
[Company name], an integrated automotive company, is allegedly to reduce expansion plan for its car rent company, from initially 4,000 units to 3,000 units of additional fleet.
The word allegedly is not a suitable choice in the context of what seems to be a straightforward business report about an impending reduction in the fleet of a car rental agency. The writer of the piece has received the information from some source. The professional approach would be to name the source. If for some reason a known source must not be named, then the information can be “rumored.”
In modern English usage, the words allege, alleged and allegedly must be used with care because they imply suspected illicit activity.
In 1300, the verb allege meant, “to swear on oath” or “to submit as legal evidence.”
In the 21st century, the verb allege means, “to claim something unproven as true, especially with reference to illicit or illegal behavior.”
Allege, alleged, and the noun allegation are verbal hot potatoes. The Associated Press Stylebook devotes five and a half column inches to guidelines for its use. Writers are advised to avoid any suggestion that they are the ones doing the alleging. This means that the writer must identify the source of the allegation in the form of an authoritative person, agency, or official document. For example,
In a civil antitrust lawsuit, the Justice Department alleged that CEOs of the publishing companies met regularly in private dining rooms of upscale Manhattan restaurants to discuss how to respond to steep discounting of their e-books by Amazon, a practice they disliked.
Once the source of the accusation has been identified, the writer must then use alleged or allegedly when referring to whatever has been alleged. For example:
She is being sued for the $78,000 in parish funds she allegedly misappropriated for her own personal and family use.
Several SNC-Lavalin employees said they were aware of the alleged scheme.
On the other hand, it’s possible to overdo the allegeds and allegedlys. In these examples, the word accused is sufficient:
Mendham Police Accused Of Allegedly Targeting Young Drivers
Evansville woman accused of allegedly embezzling thousands from local program.
Alleged is not a word to use in referring to an event that actually took place. The following example is from a news item about a speaker accused of making racist remarks at a meeting that was attended by many people:
The police [are] collecting statements from people who were present at the alleged meeting.
The speaker’s remarks were alleged, not the meeting. The meeting really took place.
Finally, there’s no need to use alleged when some other qualifier can do the job as well or better. Here are some options:
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