Adverbs: frequency


There are two types of frequency adverbs: defined and undefined.

Defined adverbs e.g. weekly, on Saturdays, daily etc

The positioning of defined adverbs is relatively easy. The adverb is usually placed at the end of the sentence:

  • I play tennis every day
  • I visit the dentist twice a year

Undefined adverbs e.g. always, usually, often, never, from time to time etc

The positioning of undefined adverbs varies significantly depending on the emphasis of the sentence and the verb structure.

  • at the beginning of the phrase to emphasise the frequency, e.g. Generally, he is really friendly but today he wasn't.
  • between the subject and the verb (except in the situations below), e.g. I always brush my teeth after meals.
  • after the verb 'to be' , e.g. He is always late for class.
  • between the auxiliary verb and the verb that follows, e.g. I have never eaten sushi.

There are some exceptions to these rules when forming questions, short replies and using the verbs 'have to' and 'used to'.

Further learning
Description Author Language
A list of common adverbs of frequency and examples. mmmEnglish
Where to position adverbs of frequency in phrases. Woodward English
Overview of key frequency adverbs and how to position them. Blog da Focus