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Adverb of Frequency


Definition - Adverbs of Frequency are Adverbs of Time that answer the question "How frequently?" or "How often?” you do something or things happen. We use some adverbs to describe how frequently we do an activity. These are called Adverb of Frequency and include: Always, usually, often, normally, occasionally, sometimes, seldom, never, hardly ever etc. Adverbs of frequency are often used with the present simple because they indicate repeated or routine activities.

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List of commonly used Adverbs of Frequency

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 Adverbs of Frequency Include 
         always                usually                 often                  normally              occasionally     
 sometimes   seldom   never   hardly ever   constantly
 continually  frequently   infrequently   intermittently   periodically
 rarely  regularly  generally  now and then   almost never 
 eventually  quarterly  weekly  later  then


What are adverbs of frequency?

Look at the chart below:

Adverbs of Frequency

(The above numbers are only used to give a general, relative idea of "how often")

Other words and phrases also do the job of Adverbs of Frequency. 
  • Words such as:
once in a while, from time to time and every now and again.  However, the phrase, "once in a while" is generally avoided and the word "occasionally" is used instead. 
  • The numbers once, twice, thrice also work as adverbs of frequency. 
           Example:  
  1. You should brush your teeth twice a day. 
  2. Once a month I meet my girlfriends for lunch.

Remember:

With words like daily, weekly, hourly etc. we know exactly how often. These words are called as definite frequency.

On the other hand, words like often, rarely, sometimes etc.  give us an idea about frequency but they don't tell us exactly. These words are called as indefinite frequency.

Points to Remember :
  • The verbs has, have, and had are auxiliary verbs, when they are used with the past participles.  (In such sentences, the adverb of frequency comes after the auxiliary verb)
           Example: She has always spoken the truth.
  • When the verb has, have, or had are used as main verbs the adverb of frequency comes before.  
           Example: I always have a glass of milk before going to bed.  
  • While asking a question the adverb of frequency always goes after the subject
           Example: Do you always come so late at night?
                            Are you never going to learn the importance of time?
  • The verbs do, does, and did are auxiliary verbs only when used in questions or negatives
           Example: Did you finish the project on time?
  • In other cases, do, does and did are normal verbs:
           Example: He never does his homework for that class.

Examples of Adverb of Frequency

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  1. I always update the calendar at the beginning of the month.
  2. Patricia often takes notes during the Skype sessions.
  3. India almost always loses test matches.
  4. Anne doesn't usually smoke.
  5. I often watch cricket matches on TV
  6. Sometimes I watch hockey or tennis on TV.
  7. Occasionally I see other programs on TV.
  8. I seldom go to the stadium to see a live match.
  9. I have never visited England.
  10. The visit was occasionally frustrating.
  11. We seldom see John.
  12. We take a vacation at least once annually.

Exercise:

Choose the correct Adverb of Frequency for each sentence.
  • I usually get up late on Saturdays.
  • Do you often travel on weekends?
  • I am never late.
  • We usually go swimming twice a month.
  • I would hardly ever be unkind to someone.
  • You see them once in a lifetime, if you travel.
  • She hardly ever has met him.
  • Always wash your hands before the meal!
  • I waited but he never turned up.
  • You normally see them best in September or March.
  • Take the medicine three times a day.
  • She hardly ever comes to my parties.
  • Have you ever been to Switzerland?
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