Is there a substitute for "otherwise" that can be used preceding an adjective?

An otherwise excellent student, going through a personal crisis, can see his results deteriorate drastically.

Close ones are "under other circumstances" or "in other conditions" (Thesaurus), but I'm looking for something that can precede the adjective "excellent", and preferably one-word.

The reason is, these wordier options (that would go after "student") seem to give a more negative impact when describing the student. The one-word used before "excellent" seem to have less negative impact.

EDIT: I am looking for something short and straightforward that touches the point as used in the sentence without the dragging negativity implied in the wordier options. Not to mention one-word makes it sound smoother. @Vocoder's suggestion is an interesting option that uses a positive-sounding word that would fit the context.

I should also add that I wanted a different word to use because the sample sentence is not of my own words but I want to convey the same meaning.

If you can think of any other words, please do share!

Much appreciated!!

  • 4
    It's not clear what is wrong with 'otherwise' (which fits all your criteria perfectly).
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 0:09
  • I do not doubt the use of othewise before excellent. I wanted a different word to use, since the sample sentence is not of my own words. And yes, I checked thesaurus which gave me those wordier options as the closest substitutes. You're right, I should have included in my post that I already checked it.
    – claymore
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 0:31
  • About "the sample sentence is not of my own words": answers posted here by others aren't your "own words" either.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 6:40

2 Answers 2


I'm finding it difficult to come up with a direct substitute, because otherwise is very well suited to that sentence. I have some suggestions that I think are probably inferior, or convey a different meaning that may not be appropriate, but they may be helpful in some way.


  1. In most cases; usually.


most of the time; generally; usually:

to the usual extent; reasonably:

Both words convey a meaning of "almost always" rather than "under other circumstances", so it becomes a question of whether that additional meaning is reasonably implied. I think that within context, it is - you're defining the ordinary/typical state (excellence) and then describing a situation that is atypical/out-of-the-ordinary and the impact it has.

  • Using a more positive-sounding word than "otherwise" is a very interesting approach. It also gives the contrast of two different states that I'm looking for, without sounding too negative. Thanks for sharing!
    – claymore
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 0:46
  • 1
    Or the similar 'usually'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 1:10

Circumstances aside, an excellent student...

  • We're looking for answers that give some detail. It would definitely help to explain why you think this would be a good phrasing, what connotations it has and so on. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 20:03
  • Extenuating circumstances aside (dyslexia, English language learners, etc.), if job hopefuls can’t distinguish between “to” and “too,” their applications go into the bin. You could perhaps add this as an example from hbr.org/2012/07/i-wont-hire-people-who-use-poo
    – k1eran
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 1:15

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