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Adverbs of Frequency

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Hi there!

During this lesson we're going to look at how you can talk about the frequency of when you do things.

So here are the main adverbs of frequency which are indefinite:
Try repeating each one after me.

hardly ever

Indefinite adverbs of frequency happen in a moment or period of time which is not specific.

And here are the main adverbs of frequency which are definite:
Once again, try repeating each one after me.

hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly
every second, once a minute, twice an hour, three times a year, once every century
once, twice, once or twice, three times, four times, five times etc.

Definite adverbs of frequency happen in a specific moment or period of time.

You normally insert an adverb of frequency after the subject and before the verb; for example:
I often study. I is the subject, often is the adverb of frequency, and study is the verb.

When you say a sentence with the verb: To Be or Modal verbs including: can, could, should and would, then in this case the adverbs of frequency are often placed after the modal verb and just before the verb; for example:
I'm always happy when I'm on holiday
She's never sad because she's always very positive
He could often go mountain biking, but he prefers trekking

It's also possible to place some adverbs of frequency at the beginning or at the end of sentences to give more importance to the action as opposed to the frequency, or to give more importance to the frequency as opposed to the action.

For example:

Usually I study. This sentence gives more importance to the action which is study.
So the important thing is that I study" as opposed to another type of action such as work or play.

You can also say: I study often. This sentence gives more importance to the frequency which is often.
So the important thing is that I study often as opposed to rarely or hardly ever.

Now let's look at some examples of all the other adverbs of frequency:

I always go to work at half past eight in the morning
This means that every day when I leave my house to go to the place where I work, the time I leave is always at half past eight in the morning.

The electric power station works continuously the whole year round
This means that the power station that produces electricity, works without any interruptions, and it never stops during every day and night of the year.
So the word continuously" means someone or something which does an action without any interruptions, and which only stops when the action or activity is complete. Some actions continue forever, and other actions end at a certain point of time.

Planes take off continually at the airport
This means that different planes regularly depart from the airport, and the action of planes taking off is repeated all day.
The word continually is used to talk about someone or something which happens regularly and which is repeated over time.

She's constantly annoying me while I'm studying
This means that in the period of time when I study, she annoys me regularly or all the time.
The word constantly is similar to both continuously and continually, but it's used to express negative aspects which don't change.

I usually go to the gym on Mondays
This means that the day of the week that I go to the gym is on Monday, and normally go every Monday.

He normally goes to the supermarket on Wednesday nights
This means that the night of the week that he goes to the supermarket is on Wednesday night, and he usually goes every Wednesday night.

We generally go on holiday in the Summer
This means that the period in which we go on holiday is normally or usually in the Summer.
Note that the words generally, normally, and usually are interchangeble in most cases.

They often eat sushi
This means that they regularly eat sushi, but it's not predictable how often they eat sushi or when they eat it.

I frequently drink wine
This means that I usually drink wine several times a week or month, and it's predicitable that I drink wine habitually.

You regularly buy bread
This means that you often buy bread with a certain continuity which could be once every day or twice a week.
Note that the word often is used more than the words frequently and regularly.

She sometimes watches tv
This means that she watches tv on some occasions or in certain cases, but not always and without any regularity.

He occasionally listens to the radio
This means that he only listens to the radio sometimes or rarely, maybe once a month or three times per year, but definitely not often.

We rarely go skiing
This means that we hardly ever go skiing, and we only go skiing maybe once every five or ten years.

They infrequently wash their car
This means that they don't wash their car on a regular basis, it's not predictable when they wash it, and they only wash their car every now and then, or every now and again.

I seldomly get up late
This means that it's rare and unusual that I get out of bed late.

Note that the word rare is used more often than the words infrequently and seldomly.

You hardly ever complain
This means that it's rare and unusual that you complain.

He never worries about money
This means that he doesn't worry about money at any time, or on any occasion, so he doesn't worry about money even once.

So, now that you know how to use adverbs of frequency, you can chat with some new friends on GoSpeakEnglish and ask them things like: Do you come here often?! No...actually, try to be more original!

And that's the end of this lesson!

Now you can see if you've understood the video, and do the test on GoSpeakEnglish

You can also watch many other English video lessons on GoSpeakEnglish

Thanks, and I hope to see you again soon!

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