Ask the Editor
What is the difference between sometimes and usually? — M J Hakimi, Australia
Both words say that something does not happen all of the time.
Sometimes means that something happens occasionally, or every now and then.
Usually means that something happens most of the time, or almost all of the time.
Here are some examples of sometimes and usually in sentences:
- Sometimes [=at certain times] I like to go to the mall, but I usually [=most of the time] shop online.
- Sometimes I take long road trips but not very often.
- I've never eaten Mediterranean food before. Usually I get Italian or TexMex food.
- I usually don’t like sleeping late in the mornings [=most mornings I wake up early], but every now and then I like to sleep in.
- Sometimes, but not often, I eat candy before dinner.
- Occasionally I let my kids stay up late, but usually [=almost always] they are in bed by 8:00 pm.
If something usually happens, it happens more often than if it sometimes happens. If something sometimes happens, it happens less often than if it usually happens.
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