Almost Always vs. Usually

Have you ever noticed that whenever you type the phrase “almost always” into Word, it has a little green line under it?

When you let the Grammar Checker fix it, it automatically changes to “usually.”
I disagree with this. I estimate that “almost always” means 90–95% of the time, whereas “usually” means 75–90% of the time.

But that was just my gut feel. So I looked it up.

It turns out my gut was pretty accurate. I found a nice list of adverbs that express frequency, listed from most frequent to least frequent.


This website also tells where to use these words in various kinds of sentences.
Most frequent   always


nearly always

almost always










now and then

once in a while




hardly ever

scarcely ever

almost never

never          Least frequent
(I rather like the way this list looks like some kind of NASA rocket when centered.)
I thought this list might come in handy for engineers who want to express frequency of occurrence with a P10, P50, P90 sort of mindset.
Based on my gut again, I would put “intermittently” in between “periodically” and “occasionally.”  I would place “continually” under “constantly.”

Personal Anecdote:

One of my favorite answers to the question “How are you?” is: “Way good, the usual.”

I would estimate that the frequency with which I use that answer is: Usually.

The rest of the time – occasionally – my answer is: “Just dandy, thanks.”

Profound Quotes of the Day
“Your net worth to the world is usually determined by what remains after your bad habits are subtracted from your good ones.”

– Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, publisher and scientist, 1706-1790

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

– Henry David Thoreau, American author, 1817-1862


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