Adverbs of frequency

Oliver and Alfie are at home when Daisy and Amy arrive. Sophie is in Hammerfest in northern Norway.


As you watch the video, look at the examples of adverbs of frequency. They are in red in the subtitles. Then read the conversation below to learn more. Finally, do the grammar exercises to check you understand, and can use, adverbs of frequency correctly.


Oliver: No, no! I can never answer the yellow questions – they're about history or politics or something, I think. I'll have an orange question, please, Mr Anderson! They're about sports, right?
Alfie: They're not always about sports – they're sometimes about food and drink.
Oliver: Not a problem, Mr Anderson. Let's hear it.
Alfie: Hmmmm. Oh no! Oh this is so easy!! Pff. How often ...
Oliver: Hang on. Back in a second.
Alfie: Who was it?
Oliver: Oh, just Daisy and Amy. Daisy's lost her keys again. She loses them about twice a week! Honestly. I found them in the fridge once! Dizzy Daisy!
Alfie: Who's Amy? The one that moved here a few months ago?
Oliver: Yeah.
Alfie: What's she like?
Oliver: I don't know. Seventeen. Straight black hair. Um. Nice. Quite serious, I suppose. Um. Very intelligent – she probably usually wins at this game ... though playing with us, that wouldn't be difficult. What was the question?
Alfie: Aah, oh yes. How often is the ...
Daisy: Hi, guys! Amy, this is Alfie – he's Oliver's best friend. They always hang out together.
Oliver: Not always! Sometimes I'm alone, you know!
Daisy: OK! They almost always hang out together.
Oliver: That's better! Er, Alfie ... ! Say hello!
Alfie: Sorry, yes. Hi. Um. Have a seat, have a seat. We're playing ... um ... we're ... you know ... it's much more fun with four players, would you like to ...
Daisy: Saved by the bell, hey?  Hi, Mum. Oliver, hey, it's Mum. How's Norway? Have you seen them? Oliver!
Oliver: Amy, do you want to play for me? He always gets the green questions wrong. Ask him green questions. 
Daisy: Mum's seen the Northern Lights!
Oliver: Oh, wow! What are they like?
Sophie: Well, they're green mostly. Apparently, they're usually green – but they're ... oh, they're so difficult to describe – they're magical! Living where we live, you either never see them or you see them once in a lifetime, if you travel. Oh, we'll have to come to Hammerfest as a family one year. The problem is you normally see them best in September or March, like now, and you two are always studying at those times ...
Amy: Yeah, they're normally green because of the oxygen, but sometimes you can see red too – that's from nitrogen. Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights. Aurora was a Greek goddess and ... sorry. Look at the sky out there! It's beautiful! It's really, really clear tonight.
Alfie: It is, isn't it? It's hardly ever that clear here – there's normally too much light pollution. And of course, it's often cloudy.
Amy: I love looking at the stars. Astronomy is fascinating, and the stars and constellations often have wonderful names, like Andromeda ... that's a constellation.
Alfie: You learn something new every day. When you're looking at the stars, can you recognise them?
Amy: Not always. But quite often, yes.
Alfie: Right! Coats on! Astronomy class in the garden in three minutes! After you, Miss Hao. Daisy and Oliver are observing, bemused ...
Amy: Thank you, Alfred.
Alfie: Um, nobody ever calls me Alfred. I don't like it very much ...
Amy: No? Alfred was a king. It's a king's name. It suits you. Oh yes! Millions of stars ...

We use adverbs of frequency – like sometimes or usually – to say how often we do things, or how often things happen.

I never have any problems with adverbs of frequency.

OK, let's see what you know. We use adverbs of frequency in this order, according to their meaning.

100%           0%
always usually/normally often sometimes occasionally hardly ever never

Are there any missing?

I think that’s most of them. You could include frequently, with usually. We use not very often too.

Very good, you’re right. These are the most common adverbs, although there are more.

They always hang out together.
The Northern Lights are usually green.
You normally see them best in September or March.
It’s often cloudy.

What do you notice about the position of the adverbs?

They are usually before the main verb, or between the auxiliary and the main verb. But they come after the verb to be.

Excellent! Can they also be at the beginning or the end of the sentence?

Yes, I think so. 'Sometimes I'm alone.' That sounds OK.

Yes, we can use some adverbs of frequency at the beginning or end of a sentence for emphasis.

Occasionally I meet her for a coffee.

We can use usually, often, sometimes and occasionally at the beginning of a sentence, and sometimes and often at the end. We use adverb expressions like a lot or not + (very) much after the main verb too.

She travels a lot.
He doesn’t study very much.

Be careful with never. It is already negative, so we can’t use it with not.

I never go to the supermarket with my mother.

I’ve just remembered some more expressions! What about once a week, twice a year, etc.?

Oh yes, I’d forgotten about those.

Take the medicine three times a day.
We usually go swimming twice a month.
You see them once in a lifetime, if you travel.

You see, I’m not always annoying.

OK, sorry. I’m not always right either. Usually, but not always!



What are your hobbies? How often do you do them?

Average: 3.7 (32 votes)
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Submitted by kilroy on Tue, 06/25/2019 - 08:01

Hi! I'm Kelvin. I live in Manila, Philippines. I always do reading English British grammar skills. I quite often reading novels and books. I love urban farming, I check my garden almost everyday. I am writing my blog post twice a week and usually write about gardening. Could you correct my statements? Please give me a feedback. I'd appreciate.
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Submitted by JoModerator on Thu, 06/27/2019 - 09:30

Hi kilroy,

Thanks for your comments on LearnEnglish Teens. This website is specially for teenagers aged 13-17 years old but perhaps you are older than that? You are welcome to keep on using LearnEnglish Teens but if you are over 17, please don't post any more comments as we must keep this strictly for teenagers to interact with each other.

Best wishes,

Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

In reply to by kilroy

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Submitted by coldhate on Thu, 04/25/2019 - 18:15

My hobbies are hearing musics, reading poems, watching concerts and lessons.
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Submitted by empty on Wed, 04/03/2019 - 10:47

the grammer video was bad. It was not well animated and the people speaked so slowly.

Submitted by JesucristodeNazare on Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:45

I live in Mexico City, I usually go to shool is 7:00 am o clock and this causes me to wake up at 5:00, at shooli do not usually have a fixed breakfast hour, i have to have breakfast when i have time.

Submitted by elwasonbb888 on Mon, 02/25/2019 - 16:42

I live in Mexico city i wake up at 4:30 and i get up at 4:45 i usually go to school at 5:30 but the clases start at 7:00
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Submitted by ELZA on Wed, 02/06/2019 - 10:55

i am good gramma . but this gramma is very easy .i like this gramma

Submitted by hlopez on Mon, 12/24/2018 - 15:46

My hobbies are watching movies and Netflix series, listening music, and playing videogames. I listen to music everyday while I travel from my home to my job and when I return to home. I also listen music while I do exercise at gym. My favourite musical genre is rock. I watch movies and Netflix movies twice a month. I usually play videogames at weekends. I´m currently playing Red Dead Redemption 2. It is a masterpiece

Submitted by aidana on Wed, 08/22/2018 - 16:33

How to download this video?
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Submitted by Tina - Coordinator on Mon, 08/27/2018 - 10:04

Dear aidana, 
I'm afraid our videos are not available for download. You are welcome to watch them as many times as you like online.

Best wishes, Tina (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

In reply to by aidana

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Submitted by Genius_Girl on Sat, 07/07/2018 - 13:43

My hobbies are watching films with my mom, playing cards with my parents, reading romance novel books, watching football on TV as a family and chatting on my phone with my friends or family members. I do my hobbies in the daytime sometimes but I do not do them all on the same day eventually.

Submitted by cat28 on Thu, 03/29/2018 - 11:05

My hobby is camping and climbing. I often do them when it is good weather.

Submitted by ghaith990000 on Sat, 03/24/2018 - 10:36

My favourite hoppies are playing football,watching films and swimming.I usually go to the club to practice it well.In my free time I watch films .I usually go swimming twice a month.I never play basketball because it's boring for me

Submitted by atindo23 on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 13:00

My hobbies are to search and learn something interesting and cool. I always do that every day. Thanks.

Submitted by GiovanaSarai on Mon, 02/12/2018 - 03:57

I found the adverbs of frequency a bit confusing because the explanation is not clear to me, but I think that if I review this lesson, it will be clear to me.
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Submitted by Batgirl on Wed, 01/24/2018 - 18:24

Most of my hobbies are trelated to art. One my resent hobbies is drawing fanarts. I love watching films and then to draw some characters. Most of them are superheroes, but I also like drawing some fantasy characters.

Submitted by Nannelian on Sun, 01/21/2018 - 23:35

My hobbies are learning english, studying music and reading amazing books. I do these things every day!

Submitted by lotus2002 on Sun, 01/21/2018 - 20:50

I always love watching movies , shopping and travelling around the world.
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