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Passive VoicePassive VoicePresent Simple PassivePresent Continuous PassivePast Simple PassivePast Continuous PassivePerfect Tenses PassiveFuture Simple PassiveGoing to PassiveSay / Believe / SupposeGet + Participle
Adverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of Frequency - Position in Sentence
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Reported SpeechReported SpeechModals in Reported SpeechReported Commands and RequestsReported QuestionsPresent Perfect in Reported SpeechFuture Perfect in Reported Speech
Irregular VerbsIrregular Verbs - GroupsIrregular Verbs - Forms
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Other TopicsWill vs. Going toIf / Even if / Whether / Unless If + Were or If + WasAs If / As Though + Past SubjunctiveHabits Expressed by Will and WouldHad BetterSubject
Read MoreAuxiliary VerbsAuxiliary Verbs: To BeAuxiliary Verbs: To HaveAuxiliary Verbs: To DoWhen To Use the Verb To Be
Grammar

Adverbs of Frequency - Position in Sentence

Adverbs of frequency tell us how often something happens.

Have a look at the list of the most common adverbs below:

The position of adverbs of frequency is often very tricky. However, there are several good rules that you can follow.

Let's divide adverbs of frequency into two groups:

Group A: always, continually, frequently, occasionally, often, once, twice, periodically, repeatedly, sometimes, usually.

Group B: ever, hardly ever, never, rarely, scarcely ever, seldom.

Adverbs in both groups are normally placed:

  1. After the simple tenses of to be:
    He is always in time for meals.

  2. Before the simple tenses of all other verbs:
    They sometimes stay up all night.

With compound tenses, they are placed after the first auxiliary, or - with interrogative verbs - after auxiliary + subject:

  • You have often been told not to do that.
  • Have you ever ridden a camel?

Exceptions

 Used to and have to prefer the adverb in front of them: 

  • You hardly ever have to remind him; he always remembers.
  • My grandpa always used to take a short nap after lunch.

Frequency adverbs are often placed before auxiliaries when these are used alone, in addition to remarks or in answers to questions:

  • Person A: - Can you park your car near the shops?
  • Person B: - Yes, I usually can.
  • I know I should take exercise, but I never do.

and when in a compound verb, the auxiliary is stressed:

  • She hardly ever has met him.

Similarly when do is added for emphasis:

  • I always do arrive in time!

But emphasis can also be given by stressing the frequency adverb and leaving it in its usual position after the auxiliary:

  • You should always check your oil before starting.

Adverbs in Group A above can also be put at the beginning or end of a sentence or clause.

always, often

The adverb always is rarely found at the beginning of a sentence/clause except with imperatives:

  • Always wash your hands before the meal!

Often, if put at the end, normally requires very or quite:

  • Often he walked.
  • He walked quite often.

Adverbs in Group B above: hardly ever, never, rarely, etc. (but not ever alone), can also be put at the beginning of a sentence, but inversion of the following main verb then becomes necessary:

hardly/scarcely ever, never, rarely and seldom are not used with negative verbs.

never, ever

ever is chiefly used with an affirmative verb, never with a negative one. It normally means at no time:

  • He never saw her again.
  • I've never eaten snails.
  • They never eat meat. (habit)
  • I've never had a better flight.

never + affirmative can sometimes replace an ordinary negative:

  • I waited but he never turned up. (Meaning: He didn't turn up.)

never + interrogative can be used to express the speaker's surprise at the non-performance of an action:

  • Has he never been to Japan? I'm surprised, because his wife is Japanese.

Check your understanding

VerbAbout VerbsAction VerbsCausative VerbsContractionsDo and MakeFinite and Nonfinite VerbsGerundInfinitive FormInversionLinking VerbsModal VerbsMay and MightMoodsPhrasal VerbsSay and TellShallStative VerbsThird Person SingularUsed toRegular VerbsIrregular VerbsVerb FormsCompound Verbs
ConditionalConditionalZero ConditionalFirst ConditionalSecond ConditionalThird ConditionalMixed ConditionalInversion in Conditional Sentences
Passive VoicePassive VoicePresent Simple PassivePresent Continuous PassivePast Simple PassivePast Continuous PassivePerfect Tenses PassiveFuture Simple PassiveGoing to PassiveSay / Believe / SupposeGet + Participle
Adverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of FrequencyAdverbs of Frequency - Position in Sentence
QuestionsQuestion TagsRhetorical QuestionsEcho Questions
Reported SpeechReported SpeechModals in Reported SpeechReported Commands and RequestsReported QuestionsPresent Perfect in Reported SpeechFuture Perfect in Reported Speech
Irregular VerbsIrregular Verbs - GroupsIrregular Verbs - Forms
ParticiplesPresent ParticiplePast ParticiplePerfect Participle
Other TopicsWill vs. Going toIf / Even if / Whether / Unless If + Were or If + WasAs If / As Though + Past SubjunctiveHabits Expressed by Will and WouldHad BetterSubject
Read MoreAuxiliary VerbsAuxiliary Verbs: To BeAuxiliary Verbs: To HaveAuxiliary Verbs: To DoWhen To Use the Verb To Be