Adverbs of definite frequency

(Use and position of adverbs of definite frequency in English)

Table of contents – adverbs of definite frequency

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Use of adverbs of definite frequency
  2. Position in a sentence
  3. Further explanations and exercises

What are adverbs of definite frequency?

Adverbs of definite frequency are consistently used in the English language. With them, the speaker may express how often something happens or how often someone does something. Bearing this regularity in mind, they merely make sense in the simple tenses, such as the present simple or the past simple, for example. Besides, they usually only appear at one specific position in the sentence (see below). Note that there are also adverbs of indefinite frequency, so-called frequency adverbs, which, unlike those of definite frequency, can also occupy other positions in the sentence. Now, in detail:

  • Examples of adverbs of definite frequency are:
    • hourly, daily, nightly, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, annually, etc.
  • Occurrence in a sentence:
    • “Peter goes jogging daily.”
    • “Sue’s brother lives in New Zealand. She calls him monthly.”

Where can adverbs of definite frequency stand in a sentence?

The word order, which means the position in a sentence, of adverbs of definite frequency is not very complicated in English. They almost exclusively occur at the end of the statement. Be careful, however, as it is quite easy to confuse them with adverbs/adverbials of definite time – this type of adverbials can also stand at the beginning of the sentence.

  • As a rule, adverbs of definite frequency only appear at the end of the sentence. This principle also means that they cannot be placed before the object. Compare:
    • “Some people get their salary weekly.”
    • “In Germany, you have to make the tax declaration yearly.”
    • Careful: Such an adverb can never precede the object:
      • Incorrect: “John buys daily the newspaper.”
      • Correct: “John buys the newspaper daily.”

Further explanations related to the ‘Adverbs of definite frequency’

The following explanations relate to the topic ‘Use and position of adverbs of definite frequency’ and could also be interesting for you: