Adverbs of frequency and their place in the sentence
We use the so-called adverbs of frequency to show how often and how regularly something happens. They are often a signal to use a simple, not a continuous tense. The basic adverbs of frequency are:
Sometimes we need to indicate a certain time period. In this case, we use adverbs and adverbial modifiers of time:
- every day/week/month/year…
- once/twice/three times a day/month…
- daily, weekly, monthly, annually
There aren't any strict rules about the place of these adverbs in the sentence. However, you can avoid blunders if you use these guidelines.
Place of adverbial modifiers in the sentence
Two rules for the short adverbs of frequency (always, usually, often, seldom, rarely, never)
In the present simple tense short, one-word adverbs of frequency go before the main verb.
I seldom watch TV.
Fabian never tells a lie.
Bobby doesn't often go to the pub.
We don't always cook at home.
Do you usually get to work by car?
Do they always arrive late?
The adverbs "sometimes", "occasionally" can go at the beginning, in the middle, or, rarely, at the end of the sentence.
Sometimes I meet Margaret in the park. I sometimes meet Margaret in the park.
If the main verb is "be",
- the adverbs of frequency go after "be" in positive and negative sentences
It is always windy in the mountains.
He is seldom at his workplace.
The professor isn't always strict with the students.
The weather isn't often warm and sunny here.
- the adverbs of frequency go after the subject in questions because the subject and the verb swap places
Why is Jenny always sad?
Is she often absent?
Adverbial modifiers of frequency that consist of more than two words
Sometimes the adverbial modifiers of frequency consist of multiple words:
- X times in a period (every day, twice a month, once a week etc.)
- when we add very / not very / too to the adverbs of frequency
In this case, it is better to put the adverbial modifiers of frequency at the end of the sentence.
I pay my bills once a month.
The postman doesn't come every day.
Does he go to Italy twice a year?
I don't watch films very often.
You visit us too seldom.