Imagine you’re at a friend’s house, and, as always, they go to the kitchen to get refreshments. When you expect something to happen, is it correct to use the phrase “as always”?
It is correct to use “as always.” This idiomatic phrase shows that you expect an event or situation to occur. When it does, “as always” is used, like in “the food was delicious, as always”. The phrase “as always” is more specific language that indicates the definite expectation of an event or behavior, compared to something vaguer like “as usual.”
If you’re stuck on when to use “as always,” read this article to find out more. And, as always, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of the phrase.
What Does “As Always” Mean?
“As always” is a phrase that means “as usual” or “as expected” and indicates that this is a common event (source). “Always” is an adverb of frequency indicating how often something takes place – in this case, it means something happens every time.
As an adverb of frequency, when you use “always,” you mean something happens every occasion. This word differs from other adverbs of frequency like “usually” or “sometimes,” which lessen the chances of something taking place.
- She always comes to visit every Tuesday.
- Percy always fights against bullies.
- No matter what, I will always love you.
“Always” shows certainty; it shows certainty in behavior, actions, and beliefs. When you use it in a sentence, you confirm the likelihood of something happening and indicate that it will definitely take place (source).
“As” has multiple functions–it can be an adverb, a preposition, and a conjunction. When you combine “as” with “always,” the meaning becomes very specific. “As” shows the manner in which something takes place.
- As I drove past his house, the door flew open.
- As soon as I woke up, my cat was on my bed crying for food.
As a combination, “as always” functions as a subordinating phrase and needs to stand with an independent clause.
How Do You Use “As Always”?
As a subordinating phrase, you cannot use “as always” on its own unless it is a response to a statement or question. You must combine it with other words in some way. “As always” generally appears at the beginning or end of a complete sentence.
It can appear in the middle of the sentence, but you would need to use commas around the phrase to separate it. Avoid using it in the middle of a sentence because it tends to sound awkward.
- As always, she was late.
- She knew what to do, as always.
- There, as always, she was the center of attention.
Since “always” is an adverb, it usually comes between the subject and the main verb. Thus, the only time it appears at the beginning of a sentence is when you use it as an imperative.
“As” also functions well with other adverbs of frequency like “usual,” “often,” and “rarely.”
- As usual, he bailed at the last minute.
- As often as he came over, he still never felt like family.
- As rarely as it happened, it always took her breath away.
Adverbs should appear before the verb because they describe how the verb takes place. “Always” shows the certainty of that action taking place. An active voice sentence should begin with the subject (in purple) and the verb (in red).
- Tyson always knows what to do in an emergency.
- They always hung out together after school.
- You always believed you were better than us.
Different tenses may put auxiliary verbs like “had,” “has,” “will,” or “have” after the subject but before “always.” Like many other adverbs, it’s best to put “always” before the verb to show what action you are describing (source).
This rule does not apply to “as always,” which can appear before the subject.
When Can You Use “As Always”?
You can use “as always” when you want to assure someone about the certainty of something taking place, and that it will continue.
You can use “as always” to show that something has definitely happened again. It helps to reassure people, and we often use it for effect, especially if you’re being sarcastic or facetious.
- As always, he was the first one to get there.
- She won the baking competition, as always.
- As always, Percy was picked last for the game by Luke.
Therefore, the tone you use with the phrase (when speaking) is critical to how others perceive your sentence.
Since “as always” indicates that an event has occurred numerous times in the past, you should write “as always” with the continuous aspect in the past, present, or future tense.
- She walked her dogs at the park, as always.
- She is walking her dogs at the park, as always.
- She will walk her dogs at the park, as always.
Adding “as always” to the simple present tense is redundant for general statements.
- She walks her dogs at the park, as always.
You could do this if you are emphasizing her long-standing habit, but if you are simply making a general statement about her current habit, “walks” is sufficient on its own.
In What Context Can You Use “As Always”?
“As always” is a phrase that works well in both written and verbal communication. You are more likely to find it in oral communication, as someone may use it to remind you of something that always happens.
Interestingly, how you emphasize the word may also help to understand the underlying tone and meaning of the sentence.
While the meaning of “as always” will never change, the emphasis you place in your tone may indicate different emotions, especially when you use it to describe something unlikely to happen every single time.
For example, if someone says, “My boyfriend burned the food while cooking, as always,” it could indicate unhappiness at their boyfriend’s cooking skills or sarcasm, given it is improbable that the boyfriend burns his food every single time.
In another example, if a woman goes to a coffee shop with a friend and says, “As always, they got my order wrong and took forever to fix it,” others may perceive that statement as hyperbolic since the woman probably wouldn’t always receive an incorrect order.
Using “As Always” in a Full Sentence
“As always” should generally appear at the start or the end of a sentence. You emphasize how often the event occurs by putting it at the beginning. Placing “as always” at the end puts the sentence’s focus on the event while adding that the event happens repeatedly.
When using “as always” in a complete sentence, you should write it in the past tense, but you can use present or future tense if needed.
- As always, I was the one doing all the cleaning.
- As always, I’m doing the cleaning.
- As always, I will be the one doing the cleaning.
The main thing is to use it by showing how the event taking place is the one that you expect to take place, which can happen in any tense form.
In the above examples, it is clear that the speaker feels a level of resentment at being the one who is always doing the cleaning. The sentence shows this by focusing on the phrase “as always” at the beginning.
If you change the syntax, you could alternatively write it as: “I was the one doing the cleaning, as always.” While the meaning does not change, it puts more focus on the action of cleaning rather than the writer always being the one to do the cleaning.
While you are more likely to see “as always” at the start or end of a sentence, it can also appear in the middle. Sometimes, you might need to set it off with parenthetical commas because it is extra information.
The best way to know that it needs parenthetical commas is how you use the phrase in a sentence. If it appears in a single clause, it will require parenthetical commas; but if it appears between two clauses, it’s fine with one just after it.
- His hair was perfect as always, and his suit was just as pristine.
- She did well in her exams, as always, but she didn’t feel the same.
- Sarah’s mother, late as always, rushed out to her car.
- Her books are, as always, bestsellers.
Is It Grammatically Correct to Say “As Always”?
It is grammatically accurate to say “as always.” “As always” is a common idiomatic phrase you find in a range of sentences. However, the standalone phrase “as always” may be a little more challenging to use.
Because “as always” refers to something happening again or the expectation of something happening again, you need to attach the phrase to some other point you want to emphasize happening again. Without context, the term does not make any sense.
This means the phrase can technically stand by itself in verbal communication, but it still needs something to contextualize.
Percy: Did you do your homework?
Beth: As always.
Percy: I didn’t do mine.
Beth: As always.
In the above exchange, “as always” is a standalone phrase, but without the previous sentences, it would not make sense.
In a sentence, “as always” should appear at the start or end, which is its most grammatically accurate and easily understandable form.
While “as always” is not a conjunctive adverb, how you fit them into a sentence may cause confusion. To learn more about the adverb “rather,” read Can You Start a Sentence With “Rather”?
When Not to Use “As Always”
“As always” does not work when an event or situation is not likely to happen again. Using it as a standalone phrase without any context is also incorrect.
Since the phrase means “as usual,” you cannot use it when referring to something that has not happened previously or will not happen again in the future. For example, if you meet a stranger, you cannot use “as usual” to describe something they do because you do not know their behavior.
It is also not applicable for rare events that you do not see as “usual” or “common.”
- As always, they won the lottery.
- The lightning struck as usual.
- As usual, her state-of-the-art computer broke down.
“As usual” also does not work when contradictory information in the sentence points to the event not happening usually or frequently. That means that you cannot use it with other adverbs of time.
- Occasionally, I did my homework as always.
- As always, I have nightmares sometimes.
- As always, I slept in on the weekend because I was exhausted.
The previous sentences are all difficult to understand and ambiguous with the different types of information provided.
What Can You Use Instead of “As Always”?
There are several synonyms that you can use for “as always.” Some are almost perfect synonyms, while others provide a similar idea but may be slightly nuanced.
Some possible synonyms include “every time,” “at all times,” “all the time,” and “consistently.” These words are a literal translation of the phrase, and you can use them interchangeably.
- I was late getting home, as always.
- Every time, I am late getting home.
- I am consistently late getting home.
However, for sarcasm, these synonyms do not work well to convey a humorous effect unless you use them verbally and emphasize them.
Another adverbial phrase is “not yet,” and we can use it for many reasons. To learn more about this adverbial phrase, read “Which Is Correct: Not Yet or Not?”
Some of these synonyms can fit in at the start or middle of a sentence but may sound inaccurate.
For example, you can start a sentence with “every time” by saying, “Every time, I’m late getting home.” However, “consistently” works better in the middle of a sentence, as you would say, “I am consistently late getting home.”
Other synonyms share a similar meaning but do not have the same level of certainty as “as always.” These would be terms like “as usual,” “typically,” “frequently,” and “routinely.”
- As usual, he came over to my house after school and stayed until dinner.
- Typically, he comes over to play and hang out after school.
- I routinely work on my assignments over the weekend.
These synonyms differ from “as always” because they do not show the same frequency level. “As always” indicates that something happens consistently and every time, while the above examples suggest that while they are likely to happen, it is not always a certainty.
Phrases and Idioms
Phrases are everyday words that are part of the English language. Idioms require a deeper understanding of the language as they are not literal phrases, and non-native speakers may misunderstand them.
For example, the idiom “a dime a dozen” refers to something being very common, but the literal meaning would be to pay ten cents for a dozen of something. Likewise, telling someone to “go back to the drawing board” means to start over but has a very different literal meaning.
“As always” is not a classic idiom but an idiomatic phrase because it’s hyperbolic. It’s unlikely that someone would do something every single time.
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
We sometimes use “as _______ as always” to expand the expression for emphasis, hyperbolic effect, or satirical humor. For example, “He was as graceful as always” could be a satirical statement laughing at someone’s lack of coordination. You can also use it for a similar effect with “as brilliant as ever.”
“As always” is a helpful phrase to show that you know what you are talking about when discussing a situation or assuring someone about the certainty of something. As always, I hope you found this article helpful and informative.