Adverbs are an essential part of the English language. They add more meaning to a sentence by describing the verb, adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs of frequency are a type of adverb that tells us how often an action happens. These types of adverbs are very useful in expressing routines, habits, and experiences in our daily lives. Various adverbs of frequency range from always to never. In this article, we will explore what adverbs of frequency are, and how to use them correctly in sentences with examples. So, let’s get started!
What is an Adverb of Frequency?
An adverb of frequency is a word that tells us how often something happens. It gives us information about the frequency or regularity of an action or event, whether it’s something that happens all the time, rarely, or somewhere in between. These words are used to mention the regularity or irregularity of an action in a sentence. For example, words like “always,” “often,” “sometimes,” “rarely,” and “never” are adverbs of frequency because they help us understand how frequently an action occurs about time.
Adverbs of frequency answer questions like:
- How often does something happen?
- How regularly does an action occur?
- How frequently is an event repeated?
How often does she exercise? (She exercises daily.)
How frequently do they visit the park? (They visit the park rarely.)
How often do you eat pizza? (I eat pizza sometimes.)
Types of Adverbs of Frequency
The basic types of adverbs of frequency are:
Definite Frequency Adverbs:
Definite frequency adverbs describe how often an action occurs at a specific time. These adverbs provide specific information about the frequency of an action. Some common examples of definite frequency adverbs are;
|Serial no.||Definite frequency adverbs||Meanings|
|1.||Always||Every time, without exception|
|2.||daily||Happening every day|
|6.||Quarterly||Occurring every quarter of the year|
|9.||Annually||Happening once a year|
|10.||Every day/week/month/year||Alternating occurrences with the specified time gap|
|11.||Twice a day/week/month/year||Happening two times within the specified period|
|12.||Once a day/week/month/year||Happening occasionally, but not regularly|
|13.||On Sunday, on Monday, etc.||Occurring specifically on the mentioned day(s) of the week.|
|14.||Fortnightly||Occurring every two weeks|
|15.||Perpetually||Continuing without interruption|
Daily: Occurring every day.
Example: I go for a walk in the park daily.
Weekly: Happening every week.
Example: We have a team meeting weekly.
Monthly: Occurring every month.
Example: I get paid monthly.
Hourly: Occurring every hour.
Example: The train arrives hourly at the station.
Quarterly: Occurring every quarter of the year (every three months).
Example: They make quarterly investments.
Yearly: Occurring every year.
Example: She receives a yearly bonus.
Annually: Happening once a year.
Example: We celebrate our anniversary annually.
Every day/week/month/year: Alternating occurrences with the specified time gap.
Example: I brush my teeth every day.
Once a day/week/month/year: Happening occasionally, but not regularly.
Example: I pay my rent once a month.
Twice a day/week/month/year: Happening two times within the specified period.
Example: Take this medicine twice a day.
Indefinite Frequency Adverbs:
Indefinite frequency adverbs describe how often an action occurs without specifying a specific time or frequency. These adverbs provide an approximate idea of the frequency of an action. Adverbs of frequency are categorized based on the frequency they express. Here are some common degrees;
Indefinite Frequency Adverbs are;
|Serial no.||Indefinite Frequency Adverbs||Range %|
Always: Indicates that action happens every time, without exception.
Example: She always arrives on time.
Usually: Shows that an action occurs most of the time, but not necessarily every time.
Example: They usually go for a walk in the evening.
Often: The action occurs frequently, but not as consistently as “always” or “usually.”
Example: He often forgets his keys at home.
Frequently: Similar to “often,” it indicates repeated actions happening regularly.
Example: They frequently travel to different countries.
Sometimes: Shows an action that occurs occasionally but not regularly.
Example: She sometimes forgets to lock the door.
Occasionally: Similar to “sometimes,” indicating infrequent occurrence.
Example: We occasionally have family gatherings.
Rarely: Indicates infrequent occurrences, much less often than “sometimes” or “occasionally.”
Example: She rarely eats fast food.
Seldom: Similar to “rarely,” it suggests actions that hardly ever happen.
Example: He seldom complains about anything.
Hardly Ever: Describes actions that rarely happen.
Example: They hardly ever miss a soccer match.
Never: Denotes that the action does not occur at all.
Example: He never eats spicy food.
Placement of adverbs of frequency in a sentence:
The placement of the adverb of frequency in a sentence varies depending on the position of the verb. In general, they are placed before the verb if the verb is not “to be,” and after the verb “to be.” In negative sentences, they usually comes before the main verb (except for “to be”), as in “I never eat meat.” Also, with the present simple tense, the adverb of frequency is usually placed before the main verb, while with other tenses (e.g. present continuous, present perfect), it can be placed before or after the main verb.
Here are some examples:
Before the main verb:
- She always arrives on time for class. (The adverb “always” comes before the verb “arrives.”)
- They never eat meat. (The adverb “never” comes before the verb “eat.”)
- I usually go to bed at 11 PM. (The adverb “usually” comes before the verb “go.”)
- He rarely goes to the gym. (The adverb “rarely” comes before the verb “goes.”)
- We sometimes go out for dinner. (The adverb “sometimes” comes before the verb “go.”)
After the main verb:
- He goes to the gym twice a week.
- We study Spanish every day.
- She drinks coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.
After the verb “to be” (Helping verb):
- He is often late for work.
- We are always happy to see you.
- It is sometimes difficult to understand.
At the beginning or end of the sentence:
- Often, I study late at night.
- I don’t like waking up early, ever.
- Usually, he listens to music while he works.
In negative sentences:
When using a negative verb in a sentence, the frequency adverb is placed between the negative particle and the main verb.
- They don’t always listen to my advice.
- I never eat fast food.
- She rarely goes to the gym.
In questions, they are usually placed before the main verb.
- How often do you exercise?
- Have you ever been to Paris?
- Do you usually have a lot of homework?
Use of adverbs of frequency with model verbs:
Model verbs, such as can, could, may, might, should, would, and must, can be used with adverbs of frequency to convey different meanings related to the frequency of an action They are usually placed before the main verb (excluding the modal verb) or after the first auxiliary verb (if there is one).
- He will probably arrive late.
- You must always wear your seatbelt.
- I may not finish the project on time.
- They might not come tomorrow.
List of Adverbs of Frequency
|Usually||Weekly||Perpetually||Not often||Every summer|
|Frequently||Hourly||Regularly||Once in a while||Routinely|
|Occasionally||Nightly||Every other day||Continuously||On (day name)|
|Rarely||Yearly||At times||Every week||Scarcely ever|
|Seldom||Annually||Very often||Every month||Quite often|
|Hardly ever||Every day||Minimally||Every year||Many times|
Q1. What are adverbs of frequency?
Adverbs of frequency are words that describe how often something happens. Some examples of adverbs of frequency are always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, and never.
Q2. What is the purpose of using adverbs of frequency?
Adverbs of frequency help to give more information about actions or events in a sentence. They help to convey how often an action happens or doesn’t happen.
Q3. What is the difference between definite and indefinite frequency adverbs?
Definite frequency adverbs indicate a specific number of times an action is performed, such as twice a week or three times a day. Indefinite frequency adverbs describe frequency in a general sense, such as always, usually, or sometimes.
Q4. Can adverbs of frequency be used to modify adjectives or other adverbs?
No, they are only used to modify verbs only. They cannot be used to modify adjectives or other adverbs.
Q5. Can different adverbs of frequency be used together in the same sentence?
Yes, they can be used together in the same sentence. For example, “I always study on Saturdays, but sometimes I also study on Sundays.” , “I sometimes go to the gym, but I always try to eat healthy.”