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?

As their name suggests, adverbs of frequency are used to show how often things happen.

What Kinds of Adverbs of Frequency Do We Have?

Mainly, adverbs of frequency are divided into two groups that are as follows:

  • Indefinite Adverbs of Frequency
  • Definite Adverbs of Frequency

Indefinite Adverbs of Frequency

On a scale of 0% to 100%, we have several adverbs that are more general and show the percentage of how often an action is done, rather than being specific. Carefully study the table below:

Always 100%
Usually 90%
Often 70%
Sometimes 50%
Rarely 5%
Never 0%

Now, let us examine some examples below:

She rarely watches Iranian movies.

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

Sally usually listens to old rock music.

Definite Adverbs of Frequency

As opposed to the indefinite adverbs of frequency, these definite ones are specified and show exactly when and how often something 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 here:

I want to finish 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.


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

Anna is usually late to work.

Sean was always neat.

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

I sometimes watch an anime after work.

My classmates rarely drink coffee in between classes.


It can be useful to know that 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, we add the negative word 'not' after the verb and put an auxiliary verb at the beginning of the sentence. Therefore, nothing happens to adverbs of frequency. 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.


Make sure that you never use the negative adverbs of frequency in negative sentences. When using them, the tense of the sentence must be positive. 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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