Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of Indefinite frequency

We use adverbs of frequency to describe how often we do an activity. 

The most common adverbs of frequency can also be called adverbs of indefinite frequency as an EXACT frequency is not defined

Frequency

100%

90%

80%

70%

Adverb

Example

Always

I always go to church on Sunday

Usually/Regularly

We usually walk home after the service if the weather is good

Normally/Frequently

I normally visit my Gran on Fridays

Often*/ Generally

She often does speaking exercises in English class

50%

Sometimes

I sometimes have to work on Saturdays

20%

10%

5%

0%

Occasionally

We occasionally eat caviar on special occasions

Seldom

Iraq is seldom visited by tourists

Hardly ever/Rarely

Never

We hardly ever see gold cars on the motorway

Vegetarians never eat meat

* Often can be pronounced with or without the "t"

Form

Subject + Adverb + Verb

Subject + BE + Adverb

Adverb position

An adverb of frequency goes before the action verb

(except with To Be).

  • Subject + Adverb + Verb

                          

                           Vegetarians never eat meat

                           I regularly run 5 kilometres 

Adverbs of frequency come after To Be:

  • Subject +To Be + Adverb

                          

                       I am often tired on Friday night

                      Well you are always working too hard

To Be can be used as an auxiliary verb. Adverbs of frequency are placed between the auxiliary or modal verb and the action verb.

  • Subject + auxiliary + adverb + main verb

                          

             You should generally try and take more time off

             

             We have never been good friends

Some adverbs of frequency can be used at the start of a sentence:

  • Usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally

                          

             Sometimes, I like to have a curry

             Normally, it snows in the winter

But the following adverbs of frequency are not used at the start of sentences: 

(Hardly) Ever & Never

  • We use hardly ever and never with positive, not negative verbs:

                          

            You hardly ever go to the cinema

            I have never seen Star Wars

  • We use ever in questions and negative statements:

                          

           Have you ever been to New Zealand?

             

           I haven't ever been to New Zealand

  • Always, seldom, rarely, hardly, ever, never

                          

             Always I eat turkey at Christmas

             Never I work on New Year's Day

                      

Related Topics:

Present Simple form & function here

Expressing habitual actions

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