Thursday, March 27, 2008


Usually and Unusually are not perfect opposites, despite appearing so based on their root and prefix. Indeed, usual and unusual are mostly the same, but somehow making this adjective into an adverb changed that.

Just think about it:

  • Usually means "on a regular basis", "often" or "most of the time"
  • Unusually means "strangely enough" or "abnormally"
...and theres how they're used. One would never said "I unusually go there for breakfast" or "She was usually tall". Those sentences don't make sense - unless she used very weird growth hormones.

Then there's flammable and inflammable, which have the same meaning - but that's another story.