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Adverbs of frequency

by John March 02, 2021
Adverbs of Frequency in English Grammar

Adverbs of frequency are adverbs that answer the question ‘how often?’. Examples include never, always and sometimes.

How often do you go to the theatre?     I never go to the theatre.

Does it always rain in Ireland?    No, it sometimes rains in Ireland.

What are adverbs of frequency?

When do we use them, and where do we put them in a sentence?

In today’s post, we are going to look at the adverbs of frequency: Always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely and never.

Adverbs of frequency

We use adverbs of frequency to talk about how often we do something.

Do we do it every day for example?

 

If we have cereal for breakfast every day, we can say:

I always have cereal for breakfast.

If, on the other hand, I only have cereal on most days, I can say:

I usually have cereal for breakfast.

If it isn’t even most days but it happens regularly, I can say:

I often have cereal for breakfast.

 

To express less frequent ideas we can use:

sometimes – on some occasions

rarely – on few occasions

never – not at all

 

To use adverbs of frequency in a sentence, we use a subject + adverb + main verb:

I always go to the beach in summer.

Grammar

To use an adverb of frequency, we put subject + adverb + infinitive

With auxiliary verbs

We can also use adverbs of frequency with auxiliary verbs.

However, when we do this, we put the adverb after the auxiliary verb.

I am often happy at the weekend.

She can usually do her homework.

They have rarely arrived late.

Test Yourself

Use an adverb of frequency to change the sentences

Example: They go home for Christmas.

Answer: They always go home for Christmas.

 

  1. She rings her boyfriend at lunchtime.
  2. The Irish government hold press conferences at 6pm.
  3. She can finish her dinner at 7pm.
  4. They are late for work.

Adverbs of Frequency in Negatives and Questions

We can also make negative sentences and questions using adverbs of frequency.

 

To make a negative sentence, we use: subject + auxiliary verb + adverb + main verb

I don’t usually go away for the weekend.

He doesn’t often go swimming. 

 

We use a similar structure for questions: auxiliary verb + subject + adverb + main verb

Do you often meet your friends for coffee?

Does she sometimes eat pasta for lunch?

Negatives and Questions

To make a question or negative sentence we use: auxiliary verb + adverb + main verb

Test Yourself

Choose the correct adverb of frequency to complete the sentences..

16

Adverbs of frequency

1 / 10

She doesn't _______ go to the cinema because she is often busy.

2 / 10

I frequently eat Junk food. Even though I know it's not good for me, I ______ eat it.

3 / 10

Nikola goes to the beach a few times a year. She _____ goes to the beach.

4 / 10

I'm never late for appointments. I'm _______ on time.

5 / 10

I seldom visit my relatives, so I _______ see my uncle.

6 / 10

The school is ____________ closed on Christmas day.

7 / 10

Mark ______ plays football. He doesn't like it.

8 / 10

She can __________ finish her dinner because she has a small appetite.

9 / 10

Marina is ______ hungry at lunchtime because she doesn't eat breakfast.

10 / 10

She doesn't _______ go to the cinema because she is often busy.

Your score is

Vocabulary

Frequency: how often something happens.

On the other hand: however

Always: all the time.

Often most of the time.

Usually: normally or regularly.

Sometimes: occasionally.

Rarely: not many times.

Never: not ever.

I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you would like to learn more about adverbs of frequency, please check out our more advanced post on adverbs of frequency.

You can find more English grammar tips elsewhere on our site and if you’d like information on our online English courses, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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