Always, never, usually, often, most, and more

English learners’ very common mistake is  using “always” and “never” often in essays even though they don’t really know that it exactly always or never happens. It might be understandable to use them while talking, but it’s not recommended to write these words down in your essays.

In other word, you don’t have to use them unless you are definitely sure about it. Therefore when you want to say “always”, it is better to use “usually”. For example, if you wrote “I always go to a school.

”, you would be asked “Are you sure that you’ve never been absent?”. Instead, you can say “I usually go to school.” This sentence doesn’t lose any meaning and is safer than the last one.

Thus foreign students tend to use strong or simple words, learning the difference between similar words correctly is significantly important.

Always, Never, Usually, Often, Most, and More

This picture means using proper words in  each situation makes your essay close to what you want say exactly. It’s easy to say something using only basic words, but it will be more fun that you can express your opinion with a wide range of vocabulary. There is “always” new finding at EC, so let’s study English!

Find more about EC, including IELTS course in Toronto.



EC English


Adverbs are words that modify

  • a verb (He drove slowly. — How did he drive?)
  • an adjective (He drove a very fast car. — How fast was his car?)
  • another adverb (She moved quite slowly down the aisle. — How slowly did she move?)

As we will see, adverbs often tell when, where, why, or under what conditions something happens or happened.

Adverbs frequently end in -ly; however, many words and phrases not ending in -ly serve an adverbial function and an -ly ending is not a guarantee that a word is an adverb.

The words lovely, lonely, motherly, friendly, neighborly, for instance, are adjectives:

  • That lovely woman lives in a friendly neighborhood.

If a group of words containing a subject and verb acts as an adverb (modifying the verb of a sentence), it is called an Adverb Clause:

  • When this class is over, we're going to the movies.

When a group of words not containing a subject and verb acts as an adverb, it is called an adverbial phrase. Prepositional phrases frequently have adverbial functions (telling place and time, modifying the verb):

  • He went to the movies.
  • She works on holidays.
  • They lived in Canada during the war.

And Infinitive phrases can act as adverbs (usually telling why):

  • She hurried to the mainland to see her brother.
  • The senator ran to catch the bus.

But there are other kinds of adverbial phrases:

  • He calls his mother as often as possible.
Always, Never, Usually, Often, Most, and MoreClick on “Lolly's Place” to read and hear Bob Dorough's “Get Your Adverbs Here” (from Scholastic Rock, 1974). Schoolhouse Rock® and its characters and other elements are trademarks and service marks of American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. Used with permission.

Adverbs can modify adjectives, but an adjective cannot modify an adverb. Thus we would say that “the students showed a really wonderful attitude” and that “the students showed a wonderfully casual attitude” and that “my professor is really tall, but not “He ran real fast.”

Learn Where to Place Adverbs of Frequency in Sentences in English

Adverbs of frequency tell us how often something happens/is the case, happened/was the case, will happen/will be the case, etc.

There are lots of them. Here are some examples:

  • always – Peter is always getting into trouble.
  • usually – They usually get their work done on time.
  • frequently – My sister frequently goes shopping in Seattle.
  • rarely – They rarely ask questions about the homework.
  • always – He always does his homework.
  • usually – They usually complete the work on time.
  • often – I often watch movies online.
  • sometimes – Jack sometimes comes over for dinner. 
  • occasionally – She occasionally asks a question.
  • rarely – They rarely have any homework.
  • never – I never complain at work. 
See also:  What are averages?

Word order can be confusing with adverbs of frequency. Here are different rules for placement in sentences.

If the sentence has one verb in it (e.g. no auxiliary verb) we usually put the adverb in the middle of the sentence, i.e. after the subject and before the verb:

subject / adverb / verb / predicate

  • Tom usually goes to work by car.
  • Mary often asks me for help. 

The adverb usually comes after the verb “be”:

subject / verb / adverb / predicate

  • Tom is often late.
  • Anne isn't usually sick.
  • Peter isn't always right.

This is not the case if we put the adverb at the beginning or end of the sentence for emphasis.

This rule also does not apply to short answers:

  • Is she usually on time?
  • Tell her not to be late.
  • Yes, she usually is.
  • She never is.

The rule is broken in other cases too, e.g.

  • Speaker A: What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at school?
  • Speaker B: I normally am at school at this time, but my teacher is ill. 
  • Speaker A: You're late again!
  • Speaker B: usually am late on Mondays because the traffic is so bad.
  • Speaker A: Tom is late again!
  • Speaker B: Tom usually is late. 

If the sentence has more than one verb in it (e.g. auxiliary verb) we usually put the adverb after the first part of the verb:

subject / helping verb or modal / adverb / main verb / predicate

  • I can never remember his name.
  • Anne doesn't usually smoke.
  • The children have often complained about the playground facilities.

In sentences with “have to” the adverb is in position A:

subject / adverb / have to / main verb / predicate

  • We often have to wait for the bus.
  • She never has to do any housework.
  • They sometimes have to stay after class. 

For emphasis, we can put the adverb at the beginning or end of the sentence.

At the end is unusual – we usually only put it there when we have forgotten to put it in earlier.

adverb / subject / main verb / predicate

  • Sometimes we go to school by bus.
  • Often he waits for her after class.
  • Usually, Peter arrives early for work.

subject / main verb / predicate / adverb

  • We go to school by bus sometimes.

Learn English Grammar

  • Adverbs of frequency tell us how often something is done.
  • Adverbs of frequency include; always, constantly, continually, frequently, infrequently, intermittently, normally, occasionally, often, periodically, rarely, regularly, seldom, sometimes etc.
  • For example:

I always do my homework on time. – In this sentence always shows us the frequency (how often) I do my homework on time. She goes out occasionally.

– In this sentence occasionally shows us the frequency (how often) she goes out.

Most frequent always constantly nearly always almost always usually generally normally regularly often frequently sometimes periodically occasionally now and then once in a while rarely seldom infrequently hardly ever scarcely ever almost never Least frequent never

Adverbs of frequency appear between the subject and the verb in a sentence:-

For example:

I always update the calendar at the beginning of the month. Poetria often takes notes during the Skype sessions.

Adverbs of frequency appear after a form of the to be – am, are, is (was, were) in a sentence:-

For example:

I am never late. Skype is occasionally frustrating. They were always noisy.

  1. Adverbs of frequency go between an auxiliary verb and the main verb:-
  2. For example:
  3. Anne doesn't usually smoke.
  4. If there are two auxiliary verbs, the adverb of frequency goes between them:-
  5. For example:
  6. I have never been to Asia.
  7. The adverbs of frequency often, usually, sometimes and occasionally can go at the beginning of a sentence:-
  8. For example:

Usually I don't give personal advice. = I don't usually give personal advice. Occasionally we go for a drive on a Sunday. = We occasionally go for a drive on a Sunday.

See also:  What are mixed fractions?

Adverbs of frequency go before the verbs used to or have to:-

For example:

I always used to celebrate bonfire night. I usually have to get up early to walk Laika.

When something happens regularly at a fixed time we can use the following as adverbs:-






Every day Daily
Every week Weekly
Ever fortnight (two weeks) Fortnightly
Every month Monthly
Every year Yearly/Annually

For example:

I get a newspaper every day. = I get the newspaper daily.I pay my rent every month. = I pay my rent monthly.

TOEIC Grammar Guide – Adverbs of Frequency

TOEIC | Grammar: Adverbs of Frequency Previous   Up   Next   

Adverbs are words that are used to help describe verbs.

Adverbs can also be used to describe adjectives and other adverbs. Adverbs of frequency are ones that describe when or how often something is done.

There are two types: adverbs of definite frequency and adverbs of indefinite frequency.

Learning Hint:

The position of an adverb in a sentence tells you whether it is an adverb of definite or indefinite frequency.

Adverbs of Definite Frequency

Adverbs of definite frequency occur at the beginning or the end of a sentence.

Common ones are hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly. Other ones are once a month, every month, and every other month. In each one, month can be replaced with hour, day, week, or year. Any exact number of times that happen in a given time period are also adverbs of definite frequency: twice a week, twice a year, three times a month, four times a year, once every five years, and so on.

  • Examples:
  • Every day, some employees go out for lunch.
  • Some employees go out for lunch every day.
  • Payroll must be done every two weeks.
  • The sales manager gets new e-mail hourly.

Adverbs of Indefinite Frequency

Adverbs of indefinite frequency include always, usually, never, often, very often, rarely, sometimes, seldom, once in a while, repeatedly, typically, hardly ever, and occasionally. Adverbs of indefinite frequency occur in the middle of the sentence. Where exactly it is placed depends on the type of verbs in the sentence. There are three possible places:

1. Between the subject and the main verb UNLESS the verb is a form of be: is, am, are, was, were.

  1. Examples:
  2. She often takes her vacation in winter.
  3. The employees always work until seven.
  4. The manager usually arrives first at the staff meetings.

2. After the be verb form when it is the main verb.

  • Examples:
  • She is often ill in winter.
  • The employees are always working until seven.
  • The manager is usually the first person to arrive.

3. Between the helping verb and the main verb. This is always true, even when the main verb is a verb form of be.


  1. She has often gone on vacation in winter.
  2. The employees can always work until seven.
  3. The manager will usually arrive first at the staff meetings.
  4. Incorrect:           The owners have been rarely unreasonable.
  5. Correct:             The owners have rarely been unreasonable.
  6. (Have is the helping verb, been is the be verb form)
  7. Usage note:  Some indefinite frequency adverbs can be placed at the beginning or end of a main clause: usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, once in a while, and occasionally.
  8. Examples:

Adverbs of Frequency

We use some adverbs to describe how frequently we do an activity.

These are called adverbs of frequency and include:

Frequency Adverb of Frequency Example Sentence
100% always I always go to bed before 11 p.m.
90% usually I usually have cereal for breakfast.
80% normally / generally I normally go to the gym.
70% often* / frequently I often surf the internet.
50% sometimes I sometimes forget my wife's birthday.
30% occasionally I occasionally eat junk food.
10% seldom I seldom read the newspaper.
5% hardly ever / rarely I hardly ever drink alcohol.
0% never I never swim in the sea.
  • * Some people pronounce the 'T' in often but many others do not.
  • These are also known as Adverbs of INDEFINITE frequency as the exact frequency is not defined.

The Position of the Adverb in a Sentence

An adverb of frequency goes before a main verb (except with To Be).

Subject + adverb + main verb
I always remember to do my homework.
He normally gets good marks in exams.

An adverb of frequency goes after the verb To Be.

Subject + to be + adverb
They are never pleased to see me.
She isn't usually bad tempered.

When we use an auxiliary verb (have, will, must, might, could, would, can, etc.), the adverb is placed between the auxiliary and the main verb. This is also true for to be.

Subject + auxiliary + adverb + main verb
She can sometimes beat me in a race.
I would hardly ever be unkind to someone.
They might never see each other again.
They could occasionally be heard laughing.

We can also use the following adverbs at the start of a sentence:

Usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally

BBC Learning English – Course: lower intermediate / Unit 4 / Grammar Reference

Adverbs of frequency

Meaning and use

Adverbs give us more information about a verb. Adverbs of frequency tell us how often an activity happens. There are many adverbs to choose from. Here are some of the most common ones, listed from most frequent to least frequent

I always walk to work..

  • They usually arrive late.
  • My father often forgets his birthday.
  • He sometimes wakes up early.
  • I rarely drink tea in the morning.
  • You hardly ever say you love me.
  • Jenny never drinks coffee in the evening.
  • We can use adverbs of frequency with the verb to be.
  • We are never unhappy.
  • This time of year is usually the coldest.

We can use modal verbs with adverbs of frequency. For example, we can use the auxiliary verbs can, should and might, which express ability (can), obligation (should), and possibility (might).

  1. Laura can sometimes hold her breath for over a minute.
  2. You should always put on suncream when it’s very sunny.
  3. We might never see each other again.
  4. Form
  5. Adverbs of frequency go before the main verb.
  6. subject + adverb + main verb
  7. I always eat breakfast.
  8. They sometimes take a taxi.
  9. They go after the verb ‘to be’.
  10. subject + to be + adverb + main verb
  11. I am always late for work.
  12. He is often ready for work at 6 am.
  13. We aren’t usually hungry in the morning.
  14. They go between a modal and the main verb.
  15. subject + modal + adverb + main verb
  16. You should always wear a helmet.
  17. I can sometimes hear my neighbour’s TV.
  18. Positive
  19. I always take the bus into town.
  20. Jenny is often late for work.
  21. Negative
  22. The adverb of frequency goes between the auxiliary and the main verb.
  23. We don’t usually watch TV after lunch.
  24. They can’t always wait for you.
  25. It goes after ‘to be’.
  26. I am not always this organised.
  27. They aren’t usually late.
  28. Question
  29. For questions, the order is auxiliary + subject + adverb of frequency + verb.
  30. Do you always eat here?
  31. Does he usually do that?
  32. Take note: negative adverbs

Negative adverbs such as never, seldom, rarely and hardly evercannot be used in negative sentences. The following sentence is incorrect, because it has a double negative.

  • WRONG: The weather isn’t never sunny.
  • CORRECT: The weather is never sunny.
  • Take note: sometimes
  • Sometimes can go before the subject, before the main verb, and after the main verb.
  • Sometimes we go fishing.
  • We sometimes go fishing.
  • We go fishing sometimes.
  • Take note: adverbs of frequency and the present continuous

We usually use adverbs of frequency with the present simple, but they can also be used with the present continuous. The adverb comes between the auxiliary and the main verb.

She’s always losing her phone.

Spoken English

Some people pronounce the /t/ sound in often; other people pronounce often with a 'silent t'. Both are acceptable.

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