Adverbs of Frequency for intermediate learners

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 number of times an action or event occurs.

Adverbs of Frequency: Types

Mainly, adverbs of frequency are divided into two groups:

  • Indefinite Adverbs of Frequency
  • Definite Adverbs of Frequency

Indefinite Adverbs of Frequency

Some adverbs express a general percentage of how often an action is done, rather than being specific. These adverbs can indicate frequency on a scale of 0% to 100%. Carefully study the table below:

Adverbs of Frequency The Percentage of Frequency
Always 100%
Usually 90%
Often 70%
Sometimes 50%
Rarely 5%
Never 0%

Now, examine the examples below:

She rarely watches Iranian movies.

As you can see, the sentence is showing that the girl isn't that much interested in Iranian movies .

Sally usually listens to old rock music.

Definite Adverbs of Frequency

As opposed to the indefinite adverbs of frequency, these definite ones are specific and show exactly how often something happens or is done. Below is a list of some common definite adverbs of frequency:

  • Every day
  • Every week
  • Once a week
  • Twice a week
  • Once a month
  • Three times a year
  • Every weekend

Now, let us look at some examples:

I want to read a book every week.

As you can see, it is completely clear when and how may times the action is done.

Sydney and her brother go mountain climbing twice a month.


Normally, adverbs of frequency are placed before the main verb. Study the following examples carefully:

I sometimes watch an anime after work.

My classmates rarely drink coffee in between classes.

If the main verb of the sentence is 'to be', adverb of frequency is placed after it. Take a look at the examples below:

Sean was always neat.

Anna is usually late to work.


When we have an auxiliary verb in the statement, the adverbs of frequency come between the auxiliary and the main verb. Take a look at the example below:

You can always do better.

Definite adverbs of frequency always come at the end of the sentences. Take a look at the examples below:

She goes jogging every day.

He wished he could go on a short trip to the country once a month.

Questions and Negations

Normally, the negative word 'not' is placed after the verb and an auxiliary verb is added at the beginning of the sentence. Therefore, adverbs of frequency remain unchanged. Take a look at the following examples:

Do you often go to the theater?

I cannot always be at your service.

As you can see, 'not' is added to the auxiliary verb and the adverb of frequency has come after it.


Be careful not to use negative adverbs of frequency in negative sentences. When using negative adverbs of frequency, the sentence must be affirmative. Pay attention to the following examples:

We can never continue that.

(Not we can't never...)

They rarely go to the movies.

(Not they don't rarely go...)


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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

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