As its name implies, the adverbs of frequency (frequency adverbs), also called adverbs frequency indicate how often certain action happens.
They are generally used to answer questions that start with How often …? (How often …?) Or How many times …? (How many times…?).
Look at the table below and learn the main adverbs of frequency in English , read the translation to understand what they mean and check out examples.
List of frequency adverbs
|Daily||Daily||We clean the house daily. (We clean the house daily.)|
|Weekly||Weekly||I wash my dog weekly. (I bathe my dog weekly.)|
|Monthly||Monthly||We pay our bills monthly. (We pay our bills monthly.)|
|Yearly||Annually||I visit my family yearly. (I visit my family annually.)|
|Always||Ever||She is always late. (She is always late.)|
|Frequently||Often||She is frequently at the shopping mall. (She is at the mall often.)|
|Generally||Usually; usually||We generally go to the gym in the morning. (We usually go to the gym in the morning.)|
|Hardly ever||Almost never||I hardly ever see my neighbors. (I hardly ever see my neighbors.)|
|Never||Never||He is never there when we need him . (He’s never around when we need him.)|
|Often||Often||I often go to the beach by myself. (I go to the beach alone often.)|
|Occasionally||Occasionally||They live in another city but they come home occasionally . (They live in another city, but occasionally come to the house.)|
|Rarely||Rarely||He rarely mentions his family. (He rarely talks about the family.)|
|Seldom||Rarely||Public services seldom work well in that country. (Public services rarely work well in that country.)|
|sometimes||Sometimes||Sometimes I prefer staying home on Friday nights . (Sometimes I prefer to stay home on Friday nights.)|
|Usually||Usually; usually||We usually play tennis on Sundays . (We usually play tennis on Sundays.)|
Check the image below and see the difference between the frequency levels indicated by the adverbs below.
Percentage comparison of frequency
See also: English grammar
When we want to give very specific information about the frequency with which something occurs, in addition to the adverbs daily (daily), weekly (weekly), monthly (monthly) and yearly (annually), we also use expressions of frequency .
- every day / month / week / year (every day / month / week / year)
- once a day / month / week / year (once a day / month / week / year)
- twice a day / month / week / year (twice a day / month / week / year)
- four times day / month / week / year (four times a day / month / week / year)
- every other day / month / week / year (day / month / week / year yes, day / month / week / year no)
Here’s how to apply them in sentences:
- They visit their grandparents every other week. (They visit their grandparents every other week)
- We travel twice a year. (We travel twice a year.)
- I call my parents once a week. (I call my parents once a week.)
See also: English idioms
Adverb position in phrase
The placement of frequency adverbs in a sentence is conditioned on the type of verb it contains.
See below how to use the adverbs of frequency correctly.
Phrase with verb to be
When the main verb of the sentence is the verb to be , the adverb of frequency should be used after the verb.
- She is generally at the gym at this time. (She is usually at the gym by this time.)
- We are always tired. (We are always tired.)
- I am never late. (I’m never late.)
See also: Verbo To Be
Phrase with a verb other than to be
When the main verb of the sentence is any verb other than the verb to be , the adverb is placed after the verb.
- He rarely visits his cousins. (He rarely visits his cousins.)
- She frequently asks about you. (He asks about you often.)
- They hardly ever study for the exams. (They hardly ever study for exams.)
Phrase with compound verb
In sentences with compound verbs, the adverb should be used immediately after the first element of the verb form.
- He has never been to Italy. (He was never in Italy.)
- She has often been compared to her mother. (She is often compared to her mother.)
- They have occasionally visited me on weekends. (They visited me occasionally on weekends.)
Phrase with modal verb
When the phrase has a modal verb, the adverb of frequency should be placed after it.
- She can never remember their anniversary. (She can never remember their wedding anniversary.)
- You should always let your parents know where you are. (You should always inform your parents of where you are.)
- He may seldom find her at home at this time. (He should rarely find her at home at this hour.)
See also: Modal Verbs
Phrase with auxiliary verb
If in a sentence the auxiliary verb is used in an answer or in isolation in a part of the sentence, the adverb of frequency must be placed before the auxiliary verb.
- ” Sorry I didn’t arrive on time.” ” You never do .” (“I’m sorry I didn’t make it on time.” “You never do.”)
- I know I should not eat chocolate, but I always do. (I know I shouldn’t eat chocolate, but I always eat.)
See also: Reflexive Pronouns
In phrases that express negative ideas, it is possible to use the adverb of frequency at the beginning of the sentence.
- Rarely have I seen such a dedicated father. (I have rarely seen such a dedicated father.)
- Never is she happy. (She is never happy.)
Note that, in these cases, the sentence organization follows the structure of a question, that is, first the verb and then the subject.
In the first sentence, for example, we have have I seen instead of I have seen . In the second example, we have is she happy instead of she is happy.