Adverbs of Frequency in English

Adverbs of frequency are those words that tell us how often something happens. There are six main adverbs of frequency that we use in English: always, usually, often, sometimes, rarely, and never.

They help us understand the routines and habits of people or the regularity of events.

Here are some common adverbs of frequency, listed from the most frequent to the least frequent:

  1. Always
  2. Usually
  3. Often
  4. Sometimes
  5. Occasionally
  6. Seldom
  7. Rarely
  8. Hardly ever
  9. Never


  • With one verb: The adverb typically goes in the middle of the sentence, after the subject but before the main verb.
    • Example: She always gets up early.
  • With “to be”: The adverb comes after the verb “to be”.
    • Example: This is definitely not always the case.
  • Questions and negatives: The adverb goes before the main verb.
    • Example: Do you often go to the movies?
    • Example: I never eat fast food.

Image by Anali Matheus from Pixabay

Adverbs of frequency are used to describe how often something happens in a sentence. Here’s how you can use them:

  1. Placement with the Verb:
    • Adverbs of frequency usually go before the main verb in a sentence. For example:
      • She always arrives early.
      • They often go hiking on weekends.
      • He rarely eats fast food.
  2. Placement with the Verb ‘To Be’:
    • When the verb ‘to be’ is used, the adverb comes after it. For example:
      • She is always punctual.
      • They are usually friendly.
      • He is rarely late.
  3. Placement with Modal Verbs:
    • When a modal verb is used, the adverb comes after the modal verb and before the main verb. For example:
      • He can never remember my name.
      • She should always double-check her work.
      • They might occasionally visit their grandparents.
  4. Placement with Other Verbs:
    • If there is more than one verb in the sentence (e.g., auxiliary verbs, helping verbs), the adverb usually comes after the first auxiliary verb. For example:
      • She has always loved reading.
      • They will often play football after school.
      • He had rarely seen such a beautiful sight.
  5. Negative Sentences:
    • In negative sentences, the adverb of frequency usually comes between the auxiliary verb and the main verb. For example:
      • She doesn’t always wake up early.
      • They don’t usually watch TV in the morning.
      • He hasn’t ever been to Europe.
  6. Questions:
    • In questions, the adverb of frequency usually comes after the auxiliary verb. For example:
      • Do you always eat breakfast?
      • Can they usually finish their homework on time?
      • Has he ever traveled abroad?

Remember, the position of the adverb of frequency can sometimes vary depending on the emphasis you want to give in the sentence, but these guidelines generally hold true for standard English usage.


  • You can place adverbs of frequency (usually, sometimes, occasionally) at the beginning or end of the sentence for emphasis.
    • Example: Sometimes, I take a long walk in the evenings.

Tense with adverbs of frequency:

Adverbs of frequency are mostly used with the present simple tense to talk about habits and routines.

Remember, this is just a basic guide. There can be some distinctions depending on the specific adverb and the sentence structure. If you’d like to explore deeper, you can search for “adverbs of frequency placement” online for more detailed explanations and examples.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *