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Adverbs of Frequency

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What are adverbs of frequency?
Adverbs of frequency explain how often something happens. The adverbs can be used when talking about the past, the present, or the future. But they are most often used to talk about the present tense, especially for beginners. Here are three example sentences:

    Sam always wakes up before the sun rises.
    They sometimes walk to school.
    I never got sick last winter.

What is the sentence structure?
Adverbs of frequency usually follow this structure:

    subject | adverb | main verb | object/complement

    She | never | drinks | coffee with breakfast.
    My teacher | always | knows | the answers.

But when the sentence uses "to be," the structure changes to:

    subject | main verb "to be" | adverb | object/complement

    Bill | is | usually | tired in the mornings.
    They | are | rarely | on time.

The adverb can sometimes come at the beginning or end of the sentence. This gives more emphasis to the adverb, and so should only rarely be used. However, never, usually, and always never appear at the beginning or end of a sentence. For example:

    X He goes out to eat always.
    X Always he goes out to eat.
    O He always goes out to eat.

    Paul: What do you like to do on the weekend.
    Stacy: Sometimes I see a movie, but there haven't been any good movies recently.

    Stacy: I see a movie sometimes, but there haven't been any good movies recently.

For closed questions, we use:

    Do you sometimes walk to school?
    Does your teacher always know the answers?

And for open questions, we use:

    How often do you wake up before the sun rises?
    How often do you walk to school?

    What do you always do in the summer?
    When does he usually go out to eat?
    Who do you sometimes see a movie with?

How are adverbs of frequency used?
Adverbs of frequency explain how often an action or event happens. Take a look at the following guide, which explains the usage:

    100% = always
    75% = usually / often
    50% = sometimes
    25% = rarely / seldom
    0% = never

Note: These percentages aren't exact. For example, "sometimes" equals about 50%, or "usually" equals about 75%. Let's look at the meaning of this sentence: I usually eat breakfast. The meaning here is perhaps I eat breakfast on most days, but sometimes I may miss a meal if I'm busy, sleep late, forget, etc. It's a rough estimate.

Is there additional information on adverbs of frequency?
No, that's all there is!


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