When to Use a Comma With 'Usually'

In the middle of a sentence, we do not use a comma to separate the adverb “usually” from the word it modifies ("play" in the example below).

In the middle of a sentence, we do not use a comma to separate the adverb “usually” from the word it modifies ("play" in the example below).

We usually play video games after school.

When starting a sentence with “usually”, the comma is often optional.

Usually, intelligent people are highly adaptable and open-minded.

1. ‘Usually’ in The Middle of a Sentence

We do not generally use a comma to separate an adverb of frequency, such as “usually”, from the verb, adjective, or adverb it modifies.

I usually prefer coffee to tea.

I usually, prefer coffee to tea.

We normally place it before the main verb, after the first auxiliary, or after the verb to be.

I usually eat dark chocolate after dinner. (Before the main verb)

We don’t usually get opportunities like this. (After the auxiliary verb)

These animals are usually very elusive. (After the verb to be)

There are particular sentence structures where a comma should be placed before “usually” in mid-sentence.

My husband, usually very quiet and reserved, prefers solitary activities to parties and loud events.

2. ‘Usually’ at The Beginning of a Sentence

You can also use the adverb “usually” to introduce a sentence.

Usually, learning a new language changes the physical structure of the brain.

Since the comma is optional in this case, you can use it to signal a pause.

Usually, primate species live in warm tropical forests.

If your sentence is clear, you can drop the comma because adverbs of frequency, like “usually”, often modify a single word of the sentence (the verb "eat" in the example below).

Usually I eat eggs for breakfast.

But “usually” can also be used to modify an adjective or an adverb. In such a situation, add a comma after the whole phrase.

Usually too busy, my wife doesn’t have time for me.

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