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 modify a verb to indicate how often the action is done.

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

We have six main adverbs of frequency that we use in English. They are called indefinite adverbs of frequency because the exact frequency is not defined.

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

We also have the following adverbs of frequency which are more specific about the frequency of an action, therefore, they are called definite adverbs of frequency. Look at some examples:

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

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

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

She is usually talkative and friendly.

Adverbs of frequency are placed before the main verb.

I always travel with my friend.

If the sentence has any 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.

Tip!

In the table below, you can see which adverbs can be placed at the beginning of the sentence and which adverbs better not be used at the start of a sentence (unless for emphasis and literary purposes).

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

Frequently 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 make a question for of the sentence all you need to do is to add not to the auxiliary or to put it at the beginning of the sentence. So there is not a change in the place of the adverbs.

I am not usually late.

Does he often cook dinner?

Review

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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