4

Where should I place the adverb 'usually'?

  1. The more beautiful the hat is, the more expensive it usually is.
  2. The more beautiful the hat is, the more expensive it is usually.
  • 2
    The second one might get used if you thought of some exceptions to a general truth just after you uttered it aloud; in that case, I might punctuate it with a dash, like this: The more beautiful the hat is, the more expensive it is – usually. – J.R. Nov 23 '17 at 10:33
  • @J.R. I agree. The second sounds like an afterthought. That may even be what you want. Techniques like this are used often in writing to make the one saying it sound dubious of what he or she just said. – Neil Nov 23 '17 at 10:37
  • @J.R. I agree as well, putting usually at the end makes it sound like an "however" is coming immediately afterwards. – SGR Nov 23 '17 at 15:14
1

"The more beautiful the hat is, the more expensive it usually is." would mean "If you take two sets of hats, and hats in the first set are more beautiful than the hats in the second, then the median price of the first set will be higher than the median price of the second.

"The more beautiful the hat is, the more expensive it is, usually." would mean "If you take two hats, the more more beautiful hat will usually be more expensive." (note that in this case, there should be a comma before "usually").

Those two statements technically are different, but are very close in meaning, and most people wouldn't distinguish between them.

In the first case "usually" is modifying just "how expensive it is"; the first sentence says that for more beautiful hats, the usual price is higher. In the second case, "usually" is modifying the whole rest of the sentence; the sentence is now saying that the claim "The more beautiful the hat is, the more expensive it is" is usually true.

  • I'm not a native speaker but I don't think the statements differ in meaning. Both say that an element of set/properties A is more likely to have a certain property than an element of a set/properties B. – Probably Nov 7 '18 at 13:33
0

Usually means routinely, or means unnecessarily.

I usually buy cheap hats under 20 dollars. - Routine.

I buy cheap hats usually under 20 dollars, but I could break the bank if I saw one I couldn't live without. -Not unusual.

Here, the argument is following a simultaneous double inversion of the subject and the verb emphasizing its idiomatic aspect using "the..., the... "grammatical structure. Naturally, the adverb is not neccessary, and would go neither at the beginning nor at the end, or at any suitable place within the sentence.

The more beautiful is the hat, the more expensive the hat is.

-1

Usually, the more beautiful the hat, the more it is expensive.

The more beautiful, the hat is usually more expensive.

The more beautiful, the more expensive is the hat, usually.

I think that the adverb is ok in any of those positions. I guess it is a choice of where you want to emphasize the adverb.

  • 1
    Several of these are very strained. The more beautiful, the hat is usually more expensive is one of the clumsiest sentences I have ever seen recommended at ELL. – Jeff Morrow Apr 25 '18 at 0:14
  • My point was that any of those constructions are grammatically okay. I wasn’t suggesting which I would prefer. Like many adverbs, they can go in three positions. Usually being one such adverb. – P VV Apr 26 '18 at 15:07

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