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Get Ready for B1: Adverbs of Frequency

Get Ready for B1: How often do you ...?

Get Ready for B1: Adverbs of Frequency

We’re going to look at adverbs of frequency and expressions of frequency in this post. These words and expressions describe how often we do an activity. “How often do you …?” is a typical oral exam question that often comes up in the Aptis Speaking Test.

Adverbs of frequency

A good way to learn and remember adverbs of frequency is to put them in order. We’re going to start with 100% positive (always) and go down to 100% negative (never):                                   


nearly always

usually / normally

often / frequently


not often / occasionally

rarely / seldom

hardly ever


These adverbs nearly always go before the main verb:

Jaime often goes to the cinema in winter.

Santi always eats three meals a day.

Chris nearly always comes to class by bike.

Jane doesn’t often go* to a football match.

*NOTE: the main verb is ‘go’.

But they go after the verb ‘to be’:

John is never bored.

Those students are usually late.

Talking about routines

Other typical exam questions in Part One of the Aptis Speaking Test are “What do you usually do …?” and “Tell me about your daily routine.” Read this example answer:

I always walk to university in the mornings. In the afternoons Im usually a bit sleepy and I often have a nap. Then in the evenings I normally go jogging in the park. I rarely watch TV at weekends; I usually go to the gym. On Saturday night I always go out with friends; Im never bored.

Expressions of frequency

Here are some more ways to talk about how often you do something:

once /wʌns/       

twice /twaɪs/      

three times

four times (etc)





year (etc)

Bea goes on holiday twice a year.              

Amalia visits her daughter once a month.    


We can also use ‘each’ or ‘every’:

Salud goes to church each Sunday.                        

Amalia reads the newspaper every morning

You can combine the expressions too, like this:

Maribel goes to the hairdresser’s once every three months.     

These expressions of frequency usually go at the end of the sentence or phrase, though they can go at the beginning too. You can also combine them with adverbs of frequency in order to be more specific:

I nearly always go to the gym twice a week, but in summer I usually go only once a month.

Quick grammar point: Formulating questions

A good way to remember word order in questions is to memorise this invented word: QUASI.

QU = Question word or words

A = Auxiliary verb

S = Subject

I = Infinitive

How often     do      you     go    on holiday?    

       QU            A        S         I                         

How often   does   she    go    to the cinema?      

Not all questions include all these parts, but the word order is always the same:

      –      Do    you    like   coffee?

      –       A       S        I

Where   are   you     –    from?

   QU       A     S       –   

If you’d like further examples of this, you can download this pdf.

Practice Exercise              

Now get a pen and paper and rewrite these sentences in the correct order. For example:

to the mountains / never / we / go  We never go to the mountains.

(Answers at the bottom of the page.)

  1. often / she / write to me / doesn’t
  2. play football on Sunday / they / always
  3. nearly always / my children / late for school / are
  4. you / on holiday / do / how often / go / ?
  5. usually / arrives late / the bus
  6. go to bed before 11pm / rarely / I
  7. go / to the beach / normally / twice / we / year / a
  8. always / going to the dentist / I / nervous / before / am
  9. hardly ever / drinks coffee / she
  10. we / every summer / go abroad / normally            
  11. goes to work by bus / occasionally / he            
  12. it / snows in winter / sometimes / in my home town

Next steps

We’ll soon be adding more basic grammar explanations and exercises under the heading ‘Get ready for B1’.

Make sure you also study Get ready for B1: Grammar and Vocab Revision.

There are also vocabulary exercises at pre-B1 level, like Get Ready for B1: Talking about Family.

If you want more grammar practice, we recommend the excellent ‘English in Use’ series published by Cambridge.


  1. She doesn’t often write to me.
  2. They always play football on Sunday.
  3. My children are nearly always late for school.
  4. How often do you go on holiday?
  5. The bus usually arrives late.
  6. I rarely go to bed before 11pm.
  7. We normally go to the beach twice a year.
  8. I am always nervous before going to the dentist
  9. She hardly ever drinks coffee.
  10. We normally go abroad every summer.          
  11. He occasionally goes to work by bus         
  12. It sometimes snows in winter in my home town. / In my home town it sometimes snows in winter. / In winter it sometimes snows in my home town.

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