How often do you go to school? How frequently do you brush your teeth? Whatever your answers to these questions are, they are called adverbs of frequency. See what I did there? A frequency adverb or adverb of frequency describes the frequency of an action in a given period.
I’ll show you how to use adverbs of frequency and their placements in sentences with examples. Then, after reading the post, you can answer the Adverbs of Frequency Worksheet I provided with an answer key.
What is an Adverb of Frequency?
Adverbs of frequency show you the frequency of something within a certain period of time. In other words, it asks the question, “how many times in a certain period?” or “how frequent?”
Remember that adverbs are what modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb in parts of speech.
Do not get confused between an adverb of frequency and an adverb of time. Adverbs of time show a definite time of an action, answering the question, “when?”
Common adverbs of frequency include always, never, and sometimes. This list of adverbs of frequency contains many other words you might use.
- From time to time
Types of Adverbs of Frequency
Adverbs of frequency or frequency adverbs either show an indefinite or definite frequency.
Definite adverbs of frequency tell exactly the frequency of something. These adverbs of frequency will usually go at the end of the sentence. Some examples include:
- Every hour
- Every day
Here are some sentence examples with definite adverbs of frequency.
- I go to the dentist every month.
- She attends school thrice a week.
- My aunt goes to London every other year to visit our grandfather.
An indefinite adverb of frequency is a type of adverb that does not show the exact frequency. These adverbs of frequency work to give general information about how often something happens.
This list shows the adverbs of frequency and their corresponding percent to show the difference in frequency or level of frequency.
- Always – 100%
- Usually – 90%
- Often – 70%
- Sometimes – 50%
- Rarely – 5%
- Never – 0%
Here are some sentence examples that include indefinite adverbs of frequency.
- I always feel happy when playing.
- John seldom drinks apple juice.
- She never wears a dress.
Where Do Adverbs of Frequency Appear in a Sentence?
Frequency adverbs in English appear in different parts of the sentence.
In a Sentence With One Verb
An adverb of frequency goes before one main verb in a sentence. Take a look at adverbs of frequency in action.
- We always go to the park to run.
- They sometimes take notes in class.
- I rarely get the green question wrong.
Usually, After the Verb “Be”
The adverb of frequency goes after be verbs, such as is, are, and am. For example:
- I am often early.
- You are frequently sick.
- She is always correct.
In a Sentence With More Than One Verb
While an adverb of frequency comes before ordinary verbs, it may also go after auxiliary verbs. It also comes before a modal verb, such as should, could, can, must, need to, and will. For example:
- He doesn’t often like to watch foreign shows.
- They could never figure out the answer to the orange question, but they always got the yellow questions right.
The only exception is the modal have to, which you can find after the adverb. For example:
- We regularly have to memorize new choreographies for dance class.
When Using for Emphasis
You can put the adverb at the start or end of the sentence for emphasis. For example:
- Sometimes I wear eyeglasses.
- Usually, Harriet wakes up at 7 AM.
- I ride my bicycle sometimes.
In Question Form
When writing interrogative sentences, always place the adverb before the main verb and after the subject. For example:
- Do you regularly curl your hair?
- Does Phoebe usually lose her things?
- Do I always fidget unconsciously?
One exception to the rule is that you should never use seldom, rarely, and never in question form.
In the Negative Form
Place the adverb in front of the main verb and after the auxiliary verb, and not when you use adverbs of frequency in the negative form. For example:
- We don’t always eat at this time.
- Titus doesn’t usually bring his car to work because he would rather walk.
- Paul doesn’t normally join us.
Remember that hardly ever and never are used with positive instead of negative verbs. For example:
- You never call me.
- I hardly ever understand anything from Astronomy class.
Summing Up Adverbs of Frequency
I hope my guide helps you understand the types, rules, and definitions of adverbs of frequency, especially their placement in sentences. Remember that an adverb of frequency answers, “how often?” or “how many times in a certain period?”
It has two types: adverbs of indefinite frequency and adverbs of definite frequency. An adverb of indefinite frequency gives a general idea of the frequency, while an adverb of definite frequency offers a specific frequency.