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Commonly vs. Typically: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 28, 2024
"Commonly" refers to what is done by many or occurs frequently, while "typically" suggests what is usual or expected in a standard scenario.

Key Differences

Commonly is used to describe actions, occurrences, or beliefs that are widespread or usual among a large group of people. Typically, however, denotes what is standard, usual, or expected under normal circumstances.
When something is commonly known or practiced, it suggests a general consensus or frequent occurrence in a broad context. Typically implies a conventional or habitual pattern observed in specific situations or contexts.
Commonly reflects the extent of prevalence or acceptance among a large population. In contrast, typically focuses on the normative aspect, indicating what is generally considered as standard or usual in specific cases.
The term commonly is often used to refer to practices or beliefs that are widely shared, without necessarily implying they are the standard or usual practice. Typically suggests a regularity or a pattern that is often seen as a representative example of a broader trend or standard.
Usage of commonly is apt when pointing out widespread practices or opinions, especially in a diverse range. Typically is more suited to describe what is expected based on past patterns or typical characteristics of a particular group or situation.

Comparison Chart


Frequently occurring or widely accepted
Conforming to a usual or expected pattern

Context of Usage

Broad, general scenarios
Specific, standard scenarios


Widespread prevalence
Standard expectation or norm

Example of Usage

"It's commonly believed that..."
"It's typically seen in..."


General frequency or acceptance
Usual or habitual patterns

Commonly and Typically Definitions


In a usual or ordinary manner.
This word is commonly misspelled.


As is usual or habitual.
He typically ignores his phone during dinner.


Widely accepted or known.
It's commonly known that the sun rises in the east.


Under normal conditions.
Typically, the store closes at 8 PM.


Frequently or by many people.
Apples are commonly used in desserts.


Usually; in most cases.
The weather is typically warmer in July.


Prevailing among many.
This practice is commonly found in many cultures.


In a way that is characteristic or usual.
She typically arrives early for meetings.


Regularly or habitually.
He commonly starts his day with a run.


Representing a typical example.
This behavior is typically observed in toddlers.


Belonging equally to or shared equally by two or more; joint
Common interests.


Exhibiting the qualities, traits, or characteristics that identify a kind, class, group, or category
A typical suburban community.


Of or relating to the community as a whole; public
For the common good.


Of or relating to a representative specimen; characteristic or distinctive.


Conforming to a type
A composition typical of the baroque period.


Also typ·ic (-ĭk) Of the nature of, constituting, or serving as a type; emblematic.


Conforming with what usually happens
The bus is late again? That's so typical!.


In a typical or common manner.


In an expected or customary manner.


In a typical manner;
Tom was typically hostile


Can "commonly" refer to rare but widespread practices?

Yes, if a practice is widespread but not frequent, it can still be described as "commonly" occurring.

Can "commonly" and "typically" be used interchangeably?

While they can overlap in meaning, "commonly" refers to widespread occurrence, whereas "typically" refers to what is usual or expected.

Does "typically" imply something is always the case?

No, "typically" suggests a usual pattern but doesn't mean it always occurs.

Is "commonly" a formal term?

It's suitable for both formal and informal contexts.

Is "commonly" only used for positive contexts?

No, "commonly" can be used for any general occurrence, whether positive, negative, or neutral.

Can "typically" be used for unexpected scenarios?

It's less common, as "typically" denotes standard or expected patterns.

Does "typically" change based on cultural context?

Yes, what is typical can vary across different cultures.

Can "commonly" refer to historic practices?

Yes, including practices that were once widespread.

Is "typically" used to predict behavior?

It can be used to suggest expected behavior based on usual patterns.

Does "commonly" imply majority agreement?

Yes, it often suggests a belief or practice is shared by many.

Does "typically" have a statistical implication?

It can imply a trend or pattern that is statistically usual.

Can "commonly" be used in scientific contexts?

Yes, to denote frequently observed phenomena or widely accepted theories.

Can "commonly" be quantified?

It's more qualitative, describing general frequency or acceptance.

Is "typically" a definitive statement?

It suggests a tendency rather than an absolute.

Is "typically" subjective?

It can be, depending on the context and the speaker's perspective.

Is "typically" used in describing stereotypes?

It can be, but care should be taken to avoid overgeneralizing.

Does "typically" always refer to the majority?

Not necessarily, it refers more to what is standard or expected.

How is "commonly" used in colloquial speech?

It's used to refer to what many people do or believe in an informal context.

Can "commonly" indicate universality?

Not necessarily universality, but widespread occurrence or acceptance.

Can "commonly" be used in legal language?

Yes, particularly in reference to widely accepted practices or norms.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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