Adverbs of Frequency

Saying how often you do something is very common in the speaking exam, especially in part one. 

Think about the gym – how often do you go there?

Are you addicted to the gym and go there everyday, without fail? Maybe you work out regularly and go 2 or 3 times a week. Or just once a week. Perhaps you’re not quite as motivated so you go less often – twice a month, twice a year. Or maybe never…

Whatever your answer, we can use adverbs of frequency.

Let’s look at a couple of ways we can express this:

  • adverbs of definite frequency
  • adverbs of indefinite frequency

Adverbs of Indefinite Frequency

With adverbs of indefinite frequency we don’t say exactly how often we do something.

You can think of how often you do it in terms of percentages – if you do something 0% of the time then you never do it, if you do it 100% of the time then you always do.

Adverbs of Frequency

For example:

  • I never go to the gym
  • I sometimes go to the gym
  • I frequently go to the gym

Note the position of the adverb within the sentence. We could also say: I go to the gym sometimes, I go to the gym frequently. However, we can’t say I go to the gym never.  

Adverbs of Definite Frequency

With adverbs of definite frequency we do state exactly how often we do something:

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

So we could say:

  • Once a week I go to the gym.
  • I go to the gym once a week.
  • Four times a week I go to the gym
  • I go to the gym four times a week

Note the position here – both at the start and at the end are possible. 

Tip: Make a note of some adverbs of frequency and use them in your next speaking practice – or use them to make your own answers to the sample questions below.

Example questions

Q1. Do you like music?

A1. I love music! I listen to music everyday. I always listen to music during my commute to and from work. I sometimes listen to classical music while I’m studying as it helps me to relax and concentrate on the task at hand. I go to the gym 3 times a week and I often to listen to music there too. 

Q2. Do you often visit museums?

A2. I used to visit museums frequently but these days I rarely do so. I don’t really have much free time and unless there’s a special exhibition on I don’t go.  However, when I’m travelling overseas I’ll usually take time to visit the national museum of the country – I really like to gain a deeper understanding of the local history. 

Q3. How often do you study English?

A3. Everyday! [Remember to show willingness to speak]

I’m making a concerted effort to improve my language skills so I study a little everyday. I go to a class afterwork twice a week, and every Friday I meet with some native speakers and take part in a language exchange in a local bar. I usually listen to the new headlines in English too to help me improve my listening skills but occasionally I can’t understand what they’re saying because they speak so fast! 

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