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Frequency adverbs are used for answering the questions “How often?” or “How many times?”
On a vertical scale, the upper limit of the concept of frequency is expressed by ‘always’, meaning ‘on every occasion’.
The lower extreme is occupied by ‘never’, meaning ‘on no occasion’.
Between these two extremes, we can have a variety of frequencies, ranging from most frequent to least frequent, as follows:
- Nearly always, almost always
- Usually, normally, generally, regularly (= ‘on most occasions’)
- Often, frequently (= ‘on many occasions’)
- Sometimes (= ‘on some occasions’)
- Occasionally, now and then (= ‘on a few occasions’)
- Seldom, rarely (= ‘on few occasions’)
- Hardly ever, scarcely ever (= ‘almost never’)
These are the frequency adverbs mostly used in speech.
However, sometimes we need to be more precise about the measurement of frequency, and this is when we use the definite frequency adverbs.
How can we use these - be it in speaking, or in writing?
- Once a day, three times an hour, several times a week
- Once per day, three times per hour, etc., to sound more formal.
"They ate only once a day."
"He went to see his children five times a week."
- Every day (= ‘once a day’), every morning, every two weeks, etc.
"We had English every day, when I was in high school."
"The CEO visits the factory every week, to inspect progress."
- Daily (= ‘once a day’), hourly, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc. These words can also be used as adjectives:
I read ‘The Times’ daily. [adv.]
It is a daily newspaper. [adj.]
She went to the seaside monthly [adv.], for the fresh air.
A monthly magazine [adj.]
He visits me weekly/every week/once a week. [adv.]
He pays me a weekly visit. [adj.]
Some days he goes to the park during his lunch break.
You can call me any time you like.
We go dancing most weekends.
She went to Hawaii many times, as a stewardess.
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