Let’s look at adverbs of frequency and time, how to form them, where to position them in a sentence and some examples in some famous songs. Have a look here to see other types of adverbs.

ADVERBS OF FREQUENCY DESCRIBE HOW OFTEN ACTIONS HAPPEN

Adverbs of Frequency describe how often actions happen

Some adverbs can tell us how often we do certain actions. Usually we place them before the main verb, except for when the main verb is “to be,” the adverb will always come after it.

 

For Example:

(normal position)

  1. She never goes to the gym. = 0% frequency  
  2. He sometimes goes to the gym.  = 50% frequency
  3. They usually go to the gym.  = 80~90% frequency
  4. She always goes to the gym. = 100% frequency

 

(with verb “to be”)

  1. She is never tired after the gym. = 0% frequency  
  2. He is sometimes tired after the gym.  = 50% frequency
  3. We are usually tired after the gym.  = 80~90% frequency
  4. They are always tired after the gym. = 100% frequency

 

SOME FREQUENCY ADVERBS CAN ALSO BE USED AT THE BEGINNING / END OF SENTENCES

Positioning the adverb

Additionally, we can also use certain adverbs that talk about frequency at the very start or very end of a sentence. When they are in these positions, it makes the meaning of the adverb much stronger or emphasised.

For example:

 

  •                               Normal position                                         Emphasised position
  • Sometimes          I sometimes go abroad.                                Sometimes, I go abroad/I go abroad sometimes. 
  • Usually                 I usually drink tea.                                        Usually, I drink tea / I drink tea usually.   
  • Often                    I often go to the cinema.                               I go to the cinema often.

 

OTHER FREQUENCY ADVERBS DESCRIBE THE PERIOD/NUMBER OF TIMES ACTIONS ARE DONE

Adverbs of frequency and time

Another way to talk about frequency is to use adverbs that tell us the number of times or period in which we do things. These adverbs usually go at the end of the sentence.

For example:

           PERIODS                                                    Number of times

  • He eats fast food daily.                                  He eats fast food 3 times a day.
  • I go to the gym weekly.                                  I go to the gym once / twice / three times etc. a week.
  • This magazine comes out monthly.            I buy this magazine once a month.
  • That event happens yearly.                          That event happens once a year.

 

ADVERBS OF TIME CAN TELL US WHEN THINGS HAPPEN

Adverbs of time

Adverbs that tell us exactly when actions happen usually go at the end of the sentence, but we can place them at the start of the sentence if the “when” part of the sentence is more important. 

For example:

Normal position:

  1. He painted my nails yesterday.
  2. You went skiing today. 
  3. I am getting a haircut later.
  4. They need to go to work now.
  5. I saw that film last/ this  year/ month / week.

 

Emphasised position:

  1. Yesterday, He painted my nails.
  2. Today, you went skiing. 
  3. Later, I am getting a haircut.
  4. Now, they need to go to work now.
  5. Last/ This  year/ month/week, I saw that film.

 

Summary

Overall, adverbs of frequency help us describe how often we do actions, which can be useful when talking about our routines, free time, work and studies in more detail. We usually place them in front of the main verb except for phrases that use “to be” where it always goes after. Most can also be used at the very start or end of a sentence to make them more emphasised. This same rule also applies to time adverbs that are usually at the end of the sentence but can go at the beginning as well. Adverbs of frequency and time are all around us, especially in music. Listen to the songs below and see if you can hear the frequency and time adverbs being used.