1 I often see English learners use surely at the beginning of a statement in the sense of definitely or of course. However, this is not how it's used in American English. 

As the first word in a statement, Surely is used to preface a supposition; something you hope is or isn't true, with a nuance of «please tell me this is(n't) the case!» 

For instance, in the snippet below, Alex would hate to think that Nicky's referring to his own wife with his comment, so he uses surely in the sense of Please tell me you don't mean your wife!

In this snippet, Alex isn't sure which woman Nicky is referring to, be he hopes it isn't his wife. That would be a horrible way to talk about one's own wife. In using the negative don't, he hopes what he's thinking isn't true and that Nicky doesn't mean Natasha.

Nicky and Alex are at a party looking at two women - one of them, Nicky's wife, Natasha.


Nicky: That woman is an absolute tarantula. If you don’t give her what she wants, she’ll make your life a living hell.

Alex: Surely you don’t mean your wife!

Nicky: No, dumbass, the one next to her. She’s my brother’s ex.

2 Surely is used to preface a statement that the speaker can't imagine (not) being true, depending on the context. It expresses an element of surprise that there could be any doubt about it. 

Here, John simply can't imagine that with memos about the dress code all over the workplace, Walker hasn't read at least one.
________________⦿ is he crazy | [ɪzi kʰréi̯zi]⦿ dress code | a set of rules that determines how everyone has to dress for work or school, etc.⦿ memo | Short for memorandum. A notice published to everyone at a workplace, advising them of a general rule, change, update, etc. ⦿ you can't take two steps without seeing it| Used to express that there's so much or so many of something that you can't possibly not notice it; it's everywhere.

John and Hugh are in the cafeteria at work when they see a coworker walk in wearing jeans and t-shirt, which is against the new company dress code.


John: Why the hell is Walker dressed like that? Is he crazy? 

Hugh: Maybe he doesn't know about the new dress code.

John: Come on! Surely everybody's read the memo. You can't take two steps in this place without seeing it on every wall!

How do you say this in your language? 

It may help others if you translate the snippets into your own native language below. 

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