Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency are used to describe how often something happens. Adverbs of frequency can be useful when you talk about your routine. You can show how often you do certain things and understand how often other people do things.

The most commonly used adverbs of frequency are:

When to use adverbs of frequency

Adverbs of frequency are often used to indicate routine or repeated activities, so they are often used with the Present Simple tense.

  • I always get up at 7.00 am.
  • I usually make toast and coffee for breakfast. 
  • I often have two cups of coffee.
  • I sometimes drive to work. 
  • I hardly ever ride my bike to work.
  • I never walk!

Position of adverbs of frequency

Present Simple (most verbs)

1. Most of the time, adverbs of frequency come before the main verb:

  • I always get up at 7.00 am. (NOT: I get up always at 7.00 am.)
  • I sometimes drive to work.
  • (NOT: I drive sometimes to work.)

2. In negative sentences, they come after the auxiliary verb:

  • I don’t usually ride my bike to work.

3. In questions, the word order is the following (before the main verb):

  • What do you usually make for breakfast?
  • How do you usually get to work?

Present Simple – the verb ‘to be’

1. With the verb ‘to be‘, adverbs of frequency come after it:

  • It is sometimes cold at 7.00 am.
  • I am usually a bit sleepy in the morning.
  • I am never late for work.
  • It is sometimes cold at 7.00 am.(NOT: It sometimes is cold at 7.00 am.)
  • I am never late for work.(NOT: I never am late for work.)

2. In negative sentences, adverbs of frequency come after ‘not’:

  • I’m not usually very awake in the morning.

3. In questions, we put adverbs of frequency after the subject:

  • Is it usually cold in the morning?
  • Are you sometimes late for work?

Adverbs of definite frequency

Some adverbs describe definite frequency. With words like ‘daily’ or ‘hourly’ we know exactly how often something happens.

These adverbs of frequency typically go in end position in a sentence.

  • Most companies pay taxes yearly.
  • The manager checks the toilets hourly.

Sometimes, when we need to emphasize it, we may use some adverbs of frequency at the front:

  • Yearly, thousands of people come to Britain in order to improve their English.

Here’s a good video from mmmEmglish explaining how to use different adverbs of frequency to talk about daily routine:

See also:

Position of Adverbs in a Sentence

Adverbial Phrases of Time and Frequency

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