An adverb is a word that describes or gives more information about a verb, adjective, adverb or phrase. It is also a word that modifies a verb, adjective, determiner, clause, preposition or sentence.
Adverbs of frequency are the adverbs that tell you how often an action happens. Those adverbs include always, sometimes, usually, generally, frequently, normally, occasionally, often, rarely, regularly, seldom, hardly ever, never and ever
He sometimes listens to the radio.
They never buy fruits in supermarkets.
Kakuze always does her tasks before watching films.
In order to understand which adverb of frequency to use, it is important to link those adverbs with percentage as the exact frequency is not defined. The percentage tells you how often the action happens.
Adverbs of indefinite frequency
These adverbs are used when we don’t want to be more specific about the frequency of the action.
|Adverb of frequency||Frequency||Example|
|Always||100%||She always listens to the news (every day, every news bulletin).|
|Usually||90%||We usually go to the market to buy fruits. (most of the time).|
|Generally/normally||80%||Kagabo generally plays football. (most of the time, but not always).|
|Often/frequently/ regularly||70%||They frequently swim in the lake. (often).|
|Sometimes||50%||She sometimes dresses in blue and white. (not usually).|
|Occasionally||30%||You occasionally watch a football match on television (not very often).|
|Seldom||15%||I seldom visit my uncle who lives in Western Province. (only every now and then).|
|Rarely/hardly ever||5%||It rarely rains in summer. (almost never).|
|Never||0%||You never smoke. (not ever).|
The use of adverbs of frequency
- They are placed before the main verbs they modify.
|Subject + adverb + main verb|
Michael rarely listens to the radio.
Abdul and Stella hardly ever watch news in English.
He often reads fashion magazines.
- Adverbs of frequency come after the verb “to be”
|Subject + to be + ADVERB|
You are usually unhappy when it’s the time of watching films.
That journalist is regularly late at work.
I am not always present when you take your lunch.
- They are placed after an auxiliary verb or the modal verb (can, may, will, must, would, etc. Simply, they are placed between the auxiliary and the main verb.
|Subject + auxiliary + ADVERB + main verb|
He has seldom read Imvaho Nshya.
The prime minister is frequently deviating the topic of discussion.
I will occasionally read the articles from The New Times.
The farmers can normally find time for listening to weather forecast programme.
Kakuze might generally have time to watch those episodes.
- They are placed after the first auxiliary if it consists of more than one word.
He has often been praised for his news reporting.
They had rarely been given time for watching cartoon.
Umulisa and Kabalisa have often been recording the news.
- The verbs have to and used to are normally preceded by these adverbs.
Semana never had to read the editorials.
I and you always used to read entertainment magazines.
- They are placed after not.
He does not always write political articles.
They do not often go in the library to read newspapers.
- They are placed after the subject in questions.
Are you usually happy while watching that show?
Do they sometimes publish new books?
Does she often use Facebook?
- We can also put them at the beginning or end of the sentence.
Generally, I only follow famous people on Twitter.
We visit our social media often.
- We can use usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes and occasionally at the start of sentences. But, we cannot use always, seldom, rarely, hardly ever, ever and never at the beginning of sentences.
Normally, I enjoy chatting with my friends on WhatsApp.
- We use hardly ever and never with positive verbs.
She hardly ever uses the Internet.
Mr. Kagabo and Mrs. Kagabo never let their children watch horror movies.
- We use ever in interrogative and negative sentences.
Have you ever used Instagram?
She hasn’t ever looked at that banner. = She has never looked at that banner.
Adverbs of definite frequency
These ones are used when we want to be more specific about the frequency. They include once, twice, thrice, four times, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, every (second/day/week/month/year). Adverbs of definite frequency are commonly put at the end of sentences.
I listen to local news thrice a day.
He has bought The New Times nine times a year.
Semanzi reads the books every day.
I have received two visitors hourly.
Every hour, RBA broadcasts news.
There is a press conference yearly.
- When you add an ‘s’ at the end of the name of a day, it means the same as ‘every (name of a day)’.
We wait for our father on Wednesdays and Fridays.
I watch serial movies on Saturdays.