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):
usually / normally
not often / occasionally
rarely / seldom
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 I‘m 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; I‘m never bored.
Expressions of frequency
Here are some more ways to talk about how often you do something:
four times (etc)
each/every day, week, month, year …
Bea goes on holiday twice a year.
Amalia visits her daughter once a month. .
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?
QU A S I
Where are you – from?
If you’d like further examples of this, you can download this pdf.
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.)
- often / she / write to me / doesn’t
- play football on Sunday / they / always
- nearly always / my children / late for school / are
- you / on holiday / do / how often / go / ?
- usually / arrives late / the bus
- go to bed before 11pm / rarely / I
- go / to the beach / normally / twice / we / year / a
- always / going to the dentist / I / nervous / before / am
- hardly ever / drinks coffee / she
- we / every summer / go abroad / normally
- goes to work by bus / occasionally / he
- it / snows in winter / sometimes / in my home town
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. This is the Elementary version, but you’ll also find intermediate and advanced.
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- She doesn’t often write to me.
- They always play football on Sunday.
- My children are nearly always late for school.
- How often do you go on holiday?
- The bus usually arrives late.
- I rarely go to bed before 11pm.
- We normally go to the beach twice a year.
- I am always nervous before going to the dentist
- She hardly ever drinks coffee.
- We normally go abroad every summer.
- He occasionally goes to work by bus
- 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.