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As the equivalent of Enlgish "Oh really?" / "Yes really." as lone utterances I seem to hear both "本当" (hontō) and "本当に" (hontō-ni) in Japanese - is there a difference?

It seems that hontō is a noun and -ni changes it into an adverb but that this doesn't really matter for the purpose of such simple utterances. Am I thinking along the right lines?

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My favorite way of saying "What, really?" is 「本当に本当!?」 >^.^< – silvermaple Jan 19 '12 at 21:59
up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is no difference in utterances for both words, if you speak those alone.

But if you add some words after that, you might need to use "本当に~" to get correct grammar.

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