Saturday, April 21, 2012

Adverbs of Frequency

We use some adverbs to describe how frequently we do an activity.
These are called adverbs of frequency and include :

FrequencyAdverb of FrequencyExample Sentence
100%alwaysalways go to bed before 11pm.
90%usuallyusually walk to work.
80%normally / generallynormally go to the gym.
70%often* / frequentlyoften surf the internet.
50%sometimessometimes forget my wife's birthday.
30%occasionallyoccasionally eat junk food.
10%seldom / rarelyseldom read the newspaper.
5%hardly everhardly ever drink alcohol.
0%nevernever swim in the sea.

The Position of the Adverb in a Sentence

An adverb of frequency goes before a main verb ( except with To Be)

Subject + adverb + main verb
always remember to do my homework.
He normally gets good marks in exams.

An adverb of frequency goes after the verb To Be.
Subject + to be + adverb
They are never pleased to see me.
She isn't usually bad tempered.

When we use an auxiliary verb (have, will, must, might, could, would, can, etc.) , the adverb is placed between the auxiliary and the main verb. This is also true for to be.
Subject + auxiliary + adverb + main verb
She can sometimes beat me in a race.
would hardly ever be unkind to someone.
They might never see each other again.
They could occasionally be heard laughing.

We can also use the following adverbs at the start of a sentence:
Usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally

  • Occasionally, I like to eat Korean food.
But we cannot use the following at the beginning of a sentence:
Always, seldom, rarely, hardly, ever, never.

We use hardly ever and never with positive, not negative verbs:
  • She hardly ever comes to my parties.
  • They never say 'thank you'.
We use ever in questions and negative statements:
  • Have yoy ever been to New Zealand?
  • I haven't ever been to Switzerland. (The same as 'I have never been Switzerland').
We can also use the following expressions when we want to be more specific about the frequency:
-every day- once a month - twice a year- four times a day- every other week