Unit 4: The daily grind
Adverbs of frequency
Select a unit
- 1 Nice to meet you!
- 2 What to wear
- 3 Like this, like that
- 4 The daily grind
- 5 Christmas every day
- 6 Great achievers
- 7 The Titanic
- 8 Travel
- 9 The big wedding
- 10 Sunny's job hunt
- 11 The bucket list
- 12 Moving and migration
- 13 Welcome to BBC Broadcasting House
- 14 New Year, New Project
- 15 From Handel to Hendrix
- 16 What's the weather like?
- 17 The Digital Revolution
- 18 A detective story
- 19 A place to live
- 20 The Cult of Celebrity
- 21 Welcome to your new job
- 22 Beyond the planets
- 23 Great expectations!
- 24 Eco-tourism
- 25 Moving house
- 26 It must be love
- 27 Job hunting success... and failure
- 28 Speeding into the future
- 29 Lost arts
- 30 Tales of survival
Adverbs of frequency are words like always, never and sometimes.
People use them to talk about how frequently things happen.
In this session, we’ll find out what they mean and you'll learn some simple rules to help you use them properly.
Session 2 score
0 / 20
- 0 / 6Activity 1
- 0 / 6Activity 2
- 0 / 8Activity 3
- 0 / 0Activity 4
Do you often listen to things in English?
It's time for 6 Minute Grammar. In this programme we join Finn, Sophie and Neil as they discuss all things relating to the topic of adverbs of frequency.
Sit back and enjoy the programme and see how well you do in the quiz at the end!
Listen to the audio
Hello everyone and welcome to 6 Minute Grammar with me, Finn.
And me, Sophie. Hello.
Today we’re talking about adverbs of frequency.
That’s right. Adverbs of frequency give us more information about a verb. They help us talk about how often we do something. We can use them to describe daily routines. Here’s Neil with our first example:
I always drink coffee in the morning.
Thanks Neil. From most frequent to least frequent, you can use always, followed by usually, and then sometimes, then rarely for things that don’t happen a lot and finally never for things you don’t do. What do you do before you go to bed, Sophie?
Well, I always brush my teeth before I go to bed – and I sometimes have a decaff cup of tea! Let’s have another example:
I always take the bus to work.
So we can use always for repeated actions – things you do every day.
Now let’s look at word order.
Yes - adverbs of frequency usually go between the subject and the main verb. Tell us about something you do every day, Finn!
Well, when I’m at work: I always have lunch with you! Now a question for you Sophie: What do you do after work?
I usually go to the gym after work - not every day – maybe three or four times a week. I often watch TV in the evenings and I sometimes read in bed.
Well, believe it or not, I rarely watch TV – maybe just once a week, and I never drink coffee in the evening: it keeps me awake!
Now let’s talk about auxiliary verbs with adverbs of frequency. Neil.
I can never remember Michael’s birthday.
So here we have the auxiliary verb can. Can shows ability and it goes between the subject I, and the adverb never. I can never remember Michael’s birthday. Let’s have another one:
You should never look directly at the sun.
Good advice using the auxiliary should, again between the subject and the adverb: You should never look directly at the sun.
Another useful auxiliary is might for possibility - like this:
We might never see each other again.
So we can use the auxiliary might if we aren’t certain about something- and it goes before the adverb. We might never see each other again.
The verb to be also goes before the adverb:
Ali is always late for work.
Right. Ali is always late for work. Is goes before the adverb always. Let’s have another example with to be please Neil:
British weather is rarely good.
You’re listening to BBC Learning English.
Now for a note about negative adverbs never and rarely.
Yes: Remember, you can’t use negative adverbs in negative sentences. For example, you can’t say British weather isn’t never good because isn’t and never are both negative.
That’s right. Instead, say British weather is never good, or perhaps British weather is rarely good.
Now for a quiz. I’ll give you an auxiliary and an adverb, and you have to make a sentence. Finn will give an example of a possible answer. First one: can and sometimes.
You could say: I can sometimes catch the early bus if I wake up in time.
Right. Next: should and never.
Ok. You should never drink coffee before you go to bed.
Yes, excellent advice. It can be difficult to sleep. Last one: to be and often.
Ok, well often means nearly always, so…You are often late for lunch!
I know… sorry, Finn!
I forgive you. Now for a pronunciation tip.
Yes. Some people say often like this: often. You can hear the ‘t’ sound: often. Other people pronounce it with a silent ‘t’.
Like this: often… often. Both ways are acceptable.
So that’s adverbs of frequency – always, usually, often or often, sometimes, rarely and never. They go before the main verb, after an auxiliary, and you can use them to talk about how regularly you do things.
Join us again for more 6 Minute Grammar.Head. H
End of Session
That's end of the session. We hope you found it useful.
Remember, the best way to get better at English is to practise using it very often. So, you can always go back and review the units and sessions that we have already shared with you. And why not download the podcast of 6 Minute Grammar so you can listen to it whenever you want!
Join us in the next session, where we'll hear from some people commuting in London and Emma has a useful pronunciation tip!
Adverbs of frequency tell us how often an activity happens.
I always walk to work.
My father often forgets his birthday.
This time of year is usually the coldest.
Adverbs of frequency go before the main verb.
subject + adverb + main verb
I always eat breakfast.
They go after the verb ‘to be’.
subject + to be + adverb + main verb
I am always late for work.
They go between a modal and the main verb.
subject + modal + adverb + main verb
You should always wear a helmet.