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Adverbs of Frequency and Expressions of Frequency

 Adverbs and expressions of frequency tell how often you do something. In this posting I talk about common adverbs and expressions of frequency. I also tell you where to place the adverb or expression in the sentence. There will be many example sentences. The download at the end will give you additional practice adding these adverbs and expressions to sentences.

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency are usually one word. They answer the question, ” How often do you…?” We use adverbs of frequency in the simple present, simple past, or simple future tenses. We do this because they imply a habit. For this reason, we usually do not use them in the present progressive or past progressive tenses.

Common Adverbs of Frequency

Always–100% of the time

Almost always–80-99% of the time

Usually, frequently, regularly, often–51-79% of the time

Sometimes–50 % of the time

Occasionally–30-49% of the time

Rarely, seldom–10-29% of the time

Hardly ever, almost never–1-9 % of the time

Never–0 % of the time

The percentages, of course, are approximate. No one expects you to count and measure how often you do something. They are meant to give you and idea of how each adverb is used. The only ones that are absolute are always and never.

Adverbs of frequency with be verb

When you use an adverb of frequency with be, use the following formula:

subject + be + adverb of frequency

He is often sick 

They were never happy in Florida 

Next year I will always be available to help you  Note that the adverb comes between will and be.

I am sometimes late for work 

We were usually on time last year 

She is seldom bored 

Adverbs of frequency with all other verbs

To use an adverb of frequency with all other verbs, use the following formula:

subject + adverb of frequency + verb

He rarely eats breakfast 

My cousin almost always takes the highway to work 

She regularly exercises 

I hardly ever drink coffee 

We almost never watch movies 

Last year I occasionally ate out 

I rarely buy new clothes 

Next year I expect I will frequently drive to New Mexico  . Note that in the future tense the adverb of frequency comes between will and the main verb.

Additional placement of some adverbs of frequency

Some adverbs of frequency can also be placed in other parts of the sentence. The meaning of the sentence does not change.

Adverbs of frequency that can be placed at the end of the sentence

These adverbs of frequency can go at the end of the sentence, as well before or after the verb (with be).

Regularly–He goes to the gym regularly. He is there regularly  . Note, most of the time regularly is used at the end of the sentence.

Rarely–I eat out rarely. Last year I ate out rarely .

Adverbs of frequency that can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the sentence

The following adverbs of frequency may go either at the beginning or the end of the sentence, as well as before  or after the verb (with be).

UsuallyUsually I eat eggs for breakfast.  I eat egg for breakfast usually .

OftenOften I read mysteries.  I read mysteries often .

FrequentlyFrequently I travel.  I travel frequently. I see him frequently .

SometimesSometimes my sister gets sick.  My sister gets sick sometimes .

OccasionallyOccasionally I go dancing. I go dancing occasionally .

Expressions of frequency

Expressions of frequency contain several words. They also tell how often you do something. These expressions should be placed at either the beginning or at the end of the sentence. Below are some common expressions of frequency. I give you their meanings and example sentences. You will see them used both at the beginning and the end of the sentence.

All the time  (means the same as always or almost always)–All the time I see him. I see him all the time.

Once in awhile (means the same as occasionally)–Once in awhile my sister calls me.  My sister calls me once in awhile.

From time to time (means the same as sometimes)–From time to time I visit the zoo. I visit the zoo from time to time.

Once a week (or once a month, twice a year, etc.)–Once a week he plays basketball. He plays basketball once a week.

Once in a lifetime  (This means that it happens only once in your life, and will never happen again.) Once in a lifetime an opportunity like this comes along. An opportunity like this comes along once in a lifetime.

Not very often (means the same as seldom. rarely, or hardly ever) This expression is used as an answer to a how often question. It can stand by itself, or you can add word to it.

How often do you watch movies at the theater?  Not very often.

How often do you eat in a fast food restaurant? Not very often. Maybe only 2 or 3 times a year.

You now know many common adverbs and expressions of frequency. You have learned that we place them after the verb with be and before the verb with all other verbs. They are used with the simple present, past and future tenses. We do not use them with the present progressive or past progressive tenses. You also know that certain adverbs of frequency can also be placed at the beginning or at then end of the sentence. Finally, you now know many common expressions of frequency. You know, as well, that these expressions can go either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence. The download will give you additional practice using adverbs and expressions of frequency.

You can download the practice sheet now!

 

Idioms of the day

  1. Every now and then  –This is an expression of frequency. It means the same as from time to time. We can use it at the beginning or at the end of the sentence. Every now and then my dog gets out of the yard. My dog gets out of the yard every now and then.
  2. Once in a blue moon  –This is also an expression of frequency. It means the same as hardly ever. We can place it at either the beginning or the end of the sentence. Once in a blue moon she leaves her house. She only leaves her house once in a blue moon.

Related Lesson: Subject-Verb Agreement in English

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