In English as in Spanish, we use a number of words to express how frequently we carry out activities. We call this words “Adverbs of Frequency”. These words are the following, arranged from those that express frequency the most, to those that least do so:

Frequency Adverb of Frequency Example Sentence
100% always I always go to bed before 11pm.
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.

The Position of the Adverb in a Sentence

An adverb of frequency goes before a main verb:

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.

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

Usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally

Occasionally, I like to eat Thai food.

BUT we cannot use the following at the beginning of a sentence:

Always, seldom, rarely, hardly, ever, never.

We use hardly ever and never with positive, not negative verbs:

She hardly ever comes to my parties.
They never say ‘thank you’.

We use ever in questions and negative statements:

Have you ever been to New Zealand?
I haven’t ever been to Switzerland. (The same as ‘I have never been Switzerland’).

We can also use the following expressions when we want to be more specific about the frequency, these ones usually appear at the end of the sentence:

– every day – once a month – twice a year – four times a day – every other week