Frequency adverbs are used to answer the question: How often? In English, they come in various positions in sentences and can sometimes be confusing to students. This video explains how to use these words. Check out the explanation and resources below for more information.
The most common frequency adverbs in English are:
| 100% of the time
about 90% of the time
about 80% of the time
about 70% of the time
about 50% of the time
about 40% of the time
about 20% of the time
about 10% of the time
about 00% of the time
Note: The percentages here are rough estimates only.
Frequency adverbs can be placed at various points in the sentence, but are most commonly used before the main verbs and after be verbs.
I always come to work on time.
They are seldom home when we call.
He’s usually eating breakfast at this time.
She’s never been to Maine.
A: Do you come here often?
B: Yes. I’m here occasionally.
A: What do you usually do here?
B: Sometimes I just sit and ponder the meaning of life.
Note: The adverbs seldom, rarely, never and hardly ever are considered negative.
A: Do you always carry a briefcase?
B: (Yes,) I usually do.
No, I usually don’t.
No, I rarely do.
No, I hardly ever do.
Other frequency adverbs and expressions are as follows:
Every other day/week
Once a week/month/year
Twice a year/day, etc.
(Every) once in a while
Every so often
These expressions are used at the beginning and end of sentences, not before main verbs.
Every once in a while I visit my grandmother in Minnesota.
I visit my grandmother in Minnesota every once in a while.
I every once in a while visit my grandmother in Minnesota. (Incorrect)
(according to schedule)
(commonly in the past)
These words can come at various points in the sentence.
I regularly floss my teeth.
I floss my teeth regularly.
Traditionally, that was considered child’s play.
I normally get up around 6 o’clock.
Normally, I get up around 6 o’clock.
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