What is an Adverb of Frequency? - Definition & Examples

What is an Adverb of Frequency? - Definition & Examples
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  • 0:03 What Are Adverbs of Frequency?
  • 0:41 Types of Adverbs of Frequency
  • 1:21 How to Use Adverbs of…
  • 1:58 Examples
  • 2:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: David Boyles

David has a Master's in English literature and is completing a Ph.D. He has taught college English for 6 years.

Adverbs of frequency modify verbs to show how often an action happens. This lesson will walk you through how to identify an adverb of frequency and use it in a sentence.

What Are Adverbs of Frequency?

How often do you exercise? Do you do it rarely, sometimes, or often? Do you do it daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly?

The words you use to describe how often you do an activity are called adverbs of frequency. An adverb is a word that modifies and describes a verb, adjective, or group of words. Adverbs of frequency typically modify verbs, or action words, and show how often they occur.

So let's take a closer look at exactly what words are adverbs of frequency, how to use them, and some examples of how they appear in sentences.

Types of Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of frequency can be subdivided into two categories: indefinite and definite. Indefinite adverbs of frequency don't specify an amount of time. They include words like 'rarely,' 'often,' 'always,' 'never,' and 'sometimes.' The amount of time described by these words is unclear because it depends on the context they are used in.

So as you may have already figured out, definite adverbs of frequency do specify an amount of time. They include words like 'hourly,' 'daily,' 'weekly,' and 'yearly,' all of which give a definite amount of time. Hence the name.

How to Use Adverbs of Frequency

There are a couple of general rules to keep in mind when using adverbs of frequency.

  • Since adverbs of frequency describe actions that are repeated, they are usually used with verbs in the simple present tense, like 'walk' (as opposed to 'walked' or 'walking').

  • Indefinite verbs of frequency usually come before the verb: Tom rarely walks. If there is a helping verb like 'have' or 'will,' the adverb comes between the helping verb and main verb, such as in the example: Tom will rarely run.

  • Finally, definite verbs of frequency usually come after the verb, such as in: Tom runs daily.

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