Adverbs of Frequency

What are Adverbs of Frequency?

Adverbs of frequency are words that modify an action by telling us how often it is done. Some examples of these adverbs are always, often, sometimes, rarely, and never. Adverbs of frequency are a useful part of the English language because they allow for precision when talking about how ongoing something is. For example, if someone wants to know if you go jogging every day you can respond “always,” and they will clearly understand your meaning.

Knowing how to use adverbs of frequency correctly can help to make conversations more effective. When used properly, these words can breathe life into any story or description and bring it to life with vivid details!

Adverbs of Frequency Rules

Adverbs of Frequency are words that help to indicate how often something occurs. For example ‘always’, ‘often’, and ‘rarely’. Learning the rules for these adverbs is an important part of communication in both verbal and written English. The basic rules to remember when using Adverbs of Frequency include placement in front of the main verb:

Exceptions with Modal VerbsPlacement ensures the adverb is in front of the main verb, even if a helping verb is present. Modal verbs such as ‘can’ are exceptions, in which case the Adverb comes after rather than before them.
Frequency OrderIt is important to remember to place adverbs indicating more frequent actions first, such as ‘always’ before other ones like ‘sometimes’.
Additional AdverbsTwo adverbs cannot be used within one sentence without being separated by a comma or by pairing them with coordinating conjunctions such as ‘and’ or ‘but’.
Double NegativesWatch out for double negatives which can change the meaning of a phrase completely.
Adverbs of frequency rules and explanation chart
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Examples of Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency are an important part of the English language! They help us to better express our thoughts and feelings when communicating. Examples of adverbs of frequency include:

  • Often
  • Rarely
  • Never
  • Occasionally
  • Sometimes
  • Usually
  • Ever

Learning when to use each adverb is a great way to refine your writing style and ensure efficiency in sentence creation. It can also add new meaning and emphasis to conversations. Additionally, using these adverbs is important when forming questions as they often act in place of phrases such as “how often” or “how much.” Mastering them will allow you to gain greater control over the way you communicate with others!

Adverbs of Frequency Exercises with Answers


“I _ feel energized after my morning run.”

“He _ gets enough sleep.”

“I _ told you to say that to her.”

“I _ eat breakfast at 11 am.”

“She _ waits for the bus after work.”


“I always feel energized after my morning run.”

“He rarely gets enough sleep.”

“I never told you to say that to her.”

“I sometimes eat breakfast at 11 am.”

“She always waits for the bus after work.”

 Adverbs of Frequency List

Always Indicates something is being done all the time.
UsuallyIndicates something is being done very often.
RegularlyIndicates something is happening often.
SeldomIndicates rarely doing something.
NeverIndicates not ever doing something.
OccasionallyIndicates more than seldom, less than usually.
Hardly EverIndicates even less than seldom, more than never.
Adverbs of frequency list chart
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Advice for ESL Students & English Language Learners

English learners often make mistakes when using adverbs of frequency, such as ‘always,’ ‘never,’ or ‘sometimes.’ The most common problem arises from adverbs that appear in different forms depending on the sentence structure – for example, ‘always’ is placed before a verb in a sentence like “I always eat breakfast,” but after the verb in a sentence like “I eat breakfast always.”

In addition, adverb discrepancies between positive and negative sentences can confuse English learners; for instance, adverbs of frequency are usually used differently in statements like “I do not like it” versus “I like it.”

As adverbs of frequency cover such broad aspects of everyday communication, mistakes in using them are easy to make. However, understanding adverb usage and applying it correctly can go a long way towards improving one’s ability to communicate in English. Additionally, it is important for learners to properly understand position of adverbs and adverbs of place.

Common Mistakes Made by English Learners

Adverbs of frequency, such as ‘always’ or ‘never’, are essential elements of language but can be difficult for learners of English to master. As they don’t have a direct translation in many languages and often must be placed in the correct spot within a sentence, they present an additional obstacle for students unfamiliar with English grammar rules.

Moreover, adverbs of frequency often have subtle nuances that could be lost on someone just learning English, making them tricky for beginners to use appropriately. Ultimately, mastering adverbs of frequency is part of learning any new language and will come easier with practice and patience.

Common Mistakes:

1. Incorrect Tense 

Why it Happens

Not having a firm grasp on correct tense usage can confuse your statements. This can cause you to use the wrong adverbs and misconstrue your message.

Correct Use

When speaking in the present simple tense, you would use an adverb that reflects current habits and routines (i.e. always, usually). Keep tense in mind when selecting your adverbs.

2. Incorrect Repetition

Why it Happens

It can be easy to do, but using too many adverbs can cause a double negative. For example “I always never go there”. This is an obsolete statement because to “never” do something is to “always never” do it. 

Correct Use

Avoid placing two frequency adverbs together in one statement; this often ends up turning your sentence into a contradiction.

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3. Incorrect Context

Why it Happens

People don’t know how to decipher the difference between something that is happening now, and something that is ongoing.

Correct Use

If you want to express that something happened multiple times in the past but is not a continuous habit now, use ‘used to’ instead of ‘always’.

4. Incorrect Usage

Why it Happens

You don’t know which adverbs to use, so you use too many and it confuses the statement.

Correct Use

Using too many frequency adverbs can make your writing sound monotonous and can also lead to viewers losing interest. Therefore it is important to focus on expressing yourself clearly and effectively with them.

Tips to Avoid Common Mistakes:

Learning adverbs of frequency, such as “never” and “sometimes” can be tricky! To ensure that adverbs of frequency are used correctly in a sentence it is important to remember a few tips.

  • First and foremost, adverbs of frequency should always be placed between the subject and the verb, for example: “He always stops to say hello.”
  • Secondly, when adverbs of frequency are used with ‘to be’ verbs, such as am, is, or are with adverbs of frequency they should come after the verb, for example: “He is never eating junk food.”
  • Finally, adverbs like ‘always’ and ‘never’ cannot be used in negative sentences – instead words like ‘seldom’ or ‘rarely’ should be used.

By following these simple rules you will ensure accuracy while using adverbs of frequency.

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Learning Adverbs of Frequency Strategies and Best Practices

Adverbs of frequency work can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems.

To ensure that you understand how frequently an adverb should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear.

Additionally, by applying the adverbs of frequency exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future. So have faith! With the right strategies and practices, mastering adverbs of frequency will soon become second nature.

Tip 1: Study a List 

Why it helps

Learning the various forms and using them properly in speaking and writing is easier than it seems with daily practice. A list can simplify this process and make it seem less daunting.

Daily Life Example

The best way to learn to use adverbs correctly is to study a list of adverbs and their usages, and then practice writing sentences with them.

Tip 2: Practice Reading

Why it helps 

Exposing yourself to adverbs hidden between other words can help you identify them faster and with more accuracy.

Daily Life Example

To ensure that you understand how frequently an adverb should be used it’s important to practice reading with them as well, so the meanings become clear. So keep a book of your choice on hand and highlight every adverb you come across. You could even make frequency cards or a fun simple verb forms worksheet to accompany your reading.

Tip 3: Everyday Conversations

Why it helps 

By applying the adverbs of frequency exercise to everyday conversations, you’ll find these words easy to remember and use in the near future.

Daily Life Example

Take your time when speaking to people. Take note of the adverbs they use, and try and repeat them back in different contexts. You can also do this from the comfort of home by recording yourself or using an AI assistant.

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Adverbs of Frequency Frequently Asked Questions

There are two main types of expressions of frequency: definite and indefinite. They show a difference in frequency or level of frequency.

Definite adverbs refer to specific, known intervals for performing actions. Examples include weekly, daily, monthly, yearly and annually.

Indefinite adverbs refer to how many times something is performed in general terms such as usually, frequently, occasionally and seldom. These correct frequency adverbs are an important element of language that help us express how often we do things in a period of time in our daily routines.

There are twelve types of adverbs that each lend a different level of expression to the words they describe. For example, “manner” adverbs express how something happened or is done, such as ‘quickly’ or ‘carefully’. Then there are also “degree” adverbs which indicate the amount or intensity of something like ‘very’, ‘so’, or ‘too’. Other types include adverbs of time and adverbs of frequency speaking:


With all these different kinds, it can get confusing but fortunately, they all work together to help create beautiful and accurate descriptions. Plus once you’ve learned all the different kinds you can become quite good at putting a sentence for emphasis together for compelling writing.

The most common expressions of frequency include always, usually, often, sometimes, occasionally, and seldom. They can be used in different ways depending on the context.

For example, if you want to say that someone does something every morning with definite frequency, you would use “always” in a simple sentence. If you would like to indicate that something happens with more definite frequency than it normally would, then “often” could be used.

On the other hand, if something is done with indefinite frequency or without regularity, then “sometimes”, “time to time”, or “occasionally” is a suitable option. Adverbs of indefinite frequency also have their own position in a sentence.

Generally speaking, they come after auxiliaries such as “do” and “have” and before main verb forms such as “eat” or “drink”. Placement in sentences is important so you provide accurate phrases of frequency.

There are countless adverbs in the English language, but there are the 10 most common ones that tend to appear frequently across all types of writing. These adverbs include:


Knowing these words and having an understanding of how they can be used to add depth to a sentence will greatly improve anyone’s ability to write effectively. With practice and patience, anyone can master the art of adverb formulation.

Adverbs are an important part of speech used to modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, or even an entire sentence. Basics adverbs provide further description or depth to language by giving more information about the manner in which something is being done. Examples of basic adverbs include:


These auxiliary verbs can be used to describe how someone carried out a task or how loud a particular sound was. Understanding how to correctly use basic adverbs in the language is key to expressing yourself effectively and accurately communicating your ideas.

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