Adverbs of frequency are used to show how often verbs happen. This can be shown in definite or indefinite terms. While always and never show 100% and 0% occurrence, learning to use the ones in between effectively is something you can learn through reading and listening. These adverbs are often used to answer questions which contain “how often” or “ever” in the question prompts.

Some of the most common adverbs of frequency:

alwaysusually /
frequently /
sometimesoccasionallyrarelyhardly ever /
almost never

Adverbs of frequency usually go before a main verb, but they also appear after forms of “be.” Sometimes “a lot” is used at the end of a sentence as a synonym for frequently/often. It is informal and is generally used in spoken English and informal writing, not academic writing.

Adverbs of frequency can be used:

  • to indicate how often something happens.
  • to indicate habitual or repeated activities. In these cases, they are used with verbs in the present simple tense.
  • If a sentence has only one verb, place the adverb of frequency in the middle of the sentence so that it is positioned after the subject but before the verb.
    • I never sleep late. I always get up early.
  • In sentences containing perfect or progressives tenses, the adverb of frequency usually appears after the auxiliary verb and before the main verb. For example: I have often listened to this show. I was usually working by 8:30 AM in those days.
  • In questions and negative statements, the adverb of frequency is placed after the “do” form and the subject, but before the main verb.
    • Do you usually get up so late? No, I don’t normally do that.