Hello and welcome back to another grammar post! In this week’s instalment of Grappling Grammar we are going to discuss the use of adverbs of frequency in the English language. 


Frequency adverbs are words or phrases that indicate how often an action or event occurs. They provide information about the frequency of an action or event in relation to time. Frequency adverbs help to specify whether something happens always, sometimes, rarely, or never. These adverbs are used to modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs to convey the frequency of an action.


Here is a list of common frequency adverbs organised by order of frequency:


Frequency Adverb Translation 
Always Siempre
Usually, normally, generally En general, normalmente, generalmente 
Often, frequently A menudo
Sometimes A veces 
Occasionally De vez en cuando, ocasionalmente 
Seldom, rarely, hardly ever Raramente, muy pocas veces, casi nunca


When using adverbs of frequency in sentences, it is important to remember that when using these adverbs with the verb “to be” (ser/estar), the adverb goes after the verb and before the adjective:


  • He is always late for work. (Él siempre está tarde para el trabajo.)


However, when using adverbs of frequency with other verbs, the adverb comes first: 


  • They usually arrive early. (Ellos usualmente llegan temprano.)


In addition to frequency adverbs, we can also use other time expressions to express the frequency of an activity or event. Here are some examples:


When counting we can use expressions like: 


  • Once (una vez)
  • Twice (dos veces)
  • Thrice (tres veces)


These can be combined with time periods to express frequency such as in these examples:


  •  I go to the gym twice a week. (Voy al gym dos veces a la semana.)
  • We meet up once a month. (Nos quedamos una vez al mes.) 


To express frequent actions we can use “every” with the appropriate time expression:


  • I go to school every day. (Voy al colegio todos los días.)
  • He calls his parents every week (Él llama a sus padres cada semana.)


We can also use expressions like “on Saturdays” (los sábados), “At the weekend” (el fin de semana) or “on weekdays”(entre semana) to express frequency. 


Here are some other frequency expressions: 


  • She goes to the cinema every now and then. (Ella va al cine de vez en cuando.)
  • They like to meet up once in a while. (Les gusta reunirse de vez en cuando.)
  • We play football together a few times a month. (Jugamos al fútbol algunas veces al mes.)
  • He plays videogames all the time. (Él juega videojuegos todo el tiempo.)


So there you go! A quick guide to using frequency adverbs and expressions, I hope you enjoyed it and don’t forget to check out Aurelia’s podcast on adverbs and expressions of frequency!

Download the PDF of this blog here.