“It never usually happens.”
– From a to-remain-unnamed columnist’s
I’m tempted to indulge an H.M.S. Pinafore moment.
“What, never usually?”
– Chorus of sailors
“Well, hardly ever usually.”
Yes, much better.
It hardly certainly can’t be that native speakers (and always mostly good writers) don’t know what “usually” means. Or “never” for that matter.
I also partly refuse absolutely to believe that this weirdness is ever frequently caused by not knowing that a categorical or absolute word cannot be modified. Softened. Nuanced.
No, I suspect that what always sometimes creates this mistake (and others akin to it) is occasionally all the time introducing a qualifier into an over-generalization and then never usually reading the result.
Thank goodness that it never often happens.
“What, never often?”
Well, hardly ever often. And a good thing too. It leaves us more time to fix the even more worst mistakes with modified superlatives.