Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency show us how often an action takes place. We use them commonly in daily English so, it is essential to learn them. Read here.

"Adverbs of Frequency" in the English Grammar

What Are Adverbs of Frequency?

Adverbs of frequency are a type of adverb used to indicate how often an action or event occurs. They modify the verb in a sentence and provide information about the frequency or number of occurrences of an action or event.

Adverbs of Frequency: Types

We have two main categories of adverbs of frequency:

  • Indefinite adverbs of frequency
  • Definite adverbs of frequency

Indefinite Adverbs of Frequency

Indefinite adverbs of frequency describe the frequency of an action or event in a general, approximate way. They do not provide a specific percentage or number of occurrences, but rather give a sense of how often something happens. We have six main adverbs of frequency that are commonly used in English:

Adverbs of Frequency Percent of Frequency
always 100%
usually 90%
often 70%
sometimes 50%
rarely 5%
never 0%

Other, less common adverbs of frequency are:

  1. normally → 80%
  2. generally → 80%
  3. frequently → 70%
  4. occasionally → 30%
  5. seldom → 10%
  6. hardly ever → 5%

I sometimes have to stay up late.

I've never been to Paris.

I rarely play any sports.

Definite Adverbs of Frequency

Definite adverbs of frequency provide a specific number of times an action or event occurs. They give a precise measurement of the frequency of an action or event rather than a general sense of how often something happens. These adverbs include:

using an adverb of frequency in a sentence

  1. every day
  2. once a week
  3. twice a month
  4. three times a day
  5. every other day
  6. daily
  7. monthly
  8. weekly

Now pay attention to some examples:

You should water these plants every other day.

We meet monthly to discuss the project.

The meeting takes place once a week.

Adverbs of Frequency: Placement

Adverbs of frequency are placed before the main verb.

I always travel with my friend.

If the main verb is 'to be', the adverb of frequency must be placed after it.

She is usually talkative and friendly.

If the sentence contains an auxiliary verbs like 'do' and 'have,' the adverb of frequency must be placed between the auxiliary and the main verb.

He has always been kind to me.

I will never forget you.


The table below shows which adverbs can be placed at the beginning of a sentence, as well as those that are generally better not to appear at the beginning of the sentence unless used for emphasis or literary purposes.

usually always
normally seldom
often rarely
frequently hardly
sometimes ever
occasionally never

Sometimes he got drunk.

I always travel with my friend. (Not Always I travel with my friend.)

Making Questions and Negatives

To make a sentence negative or to form a question all you need to do is add 'not' to the auxiliary or to move it to the beginning of the sentence. So the adverb does not undergo any changes.

I am not usually late.

Does he often cook dinner?


Adverbs of frequency indicate how often an action is done.
They are placed after the auxiliary verbs and before the main verbs.


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Types of Adverbs

Adverbs give us a description of a verb in a sentence. There are five basic types of adverbs in the English language.

Adverbs of Place

Adverbs of place help us express where the verb is taking place. Using them will help us be more accurate about locations.

Adverbs of Time

'Adverbs of time' give you some information about the time something happened. Using them will help us add details about time to our sentences.

Adverbs of Manner

Adverbs of manner give us more information about how the verb is done. To learn their grammatical function and how to use them, read this.

Adverbs of Degree

Adverbs of degree are mostly used before adjectives, adverbs, and verbs to intensify the term after them.

Adverbs of Probability

Adverbs of probability indicate how certain we are about an action. In this lesson, we will learn about how and when to use them.

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