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Adverbs and Adverbs of Frequency

An adverb can modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb. The ones we will study
answer one of these questions about the verb in the sentence:
When did they leave? They left last week.
How did they travel from here to Tallahassee? They traveled by car.
How does he drive? He drives safely sometimes. Sometimes he drives

Formation of Adverbs
1. Most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the adjective.

loud = loudly

careless = carlessly

safe = safely

2. Adjectives that end in consonant + y change the "y" to "i" and add -ly for the adverb

lazy = lazily

crazy = crazily

angry = angrily

3. Adjectives that end in -ic add -ally for the adverb form.

pessimistic = pessimistically

optimistic = optimistically

enthusiastic = enthusiastically

Irregular Adverbs
1. These irregular adverbs have the same form as adjectives and adverbs.


adverb adjective










2. The adjective form for "good" is "well", but sometimes "well" can be used as an
adjective that means "healthy."
Example: John had the flu last week, but today he is well (healthy).
3. The word "not" and words that tell time and place are also adverbs.







--------------------Exercise 1
Instructions: Write the correct ADVERB form of these adjectives.
1. enthusiastic
2. good
3. late
4. early
5. beautiful
6. hard
7. slow
8. specific

9. bad
10. dangerous
11. crazy
12. angry

Placement of adverbs
Adverbs in Negative Sentences and Questions
In a question, adverbs cannot go between the auxiliary verb and the
subject. In a negative sentence adverbs cannot go between the auxiliary
and "not".

Did you give it to him secretly?
No, I did not give it to him secretly.

Did you give secretly it to him?

No, I did secretly not give it to him.

In a negative sentences and in questions, adverbs are usually NOT at the
beginning of the sentence.
Does she speak quickly?

No, she doesn't speak quickly.

Quickly does she speak?

No, quickly she does not speak.

Exercise 2:
Instructions: Rewrite the sentences using the adverb in parentheses.
1. She sang the song. (quietly)
2. Does she speak German? (very well)
3. They finished that project. (quickly)
4. Will you answer this question? (carefully)
5. He sent her a box of chocolates. (secretly)

6. They drew the plans for their new home. (enthusiastically)

7. She doesn't speak English. (badly)
Exercise 3:
Instructions: Circle the adverbs.
1. Sometimes I like to study with music on, but today I cannot. I need to concentrate
carefully because I have a midterm exam in English on Friday.
2. Leave quickly. The the tornado is coming this way and we need to find shelter
3. He teaches very well, but he speaks very loudly in the classroom. I usually come out
of class with a headache. I think I will buy some earplugs today, and I will always take
them to his class.
4. The neighbors are having another party. They always play their music too loudly and
we cannot sleep. I think we should go over there and tell them to keep the music down.
They are not thinking of their neighbors.
5. Tomorrow I will not arrive late to class. I will come early because my brother is
taking me, and he always drives fast.
Exercise 4:
Instructions: Circle the error and correct the sentence.
1. He returned quickly her book to her.
2. She did quietly not leave the room.
2. The secretary did accurately not type the letter.
3. We closed carefully the doors and windows and early went to bed.

Adverbs of Frequency
Some of the more common adverbs of frequency include the following:

100% of the time = always

85% of the time = almost always,

45% of the time = usually, generally, frequently, often

30% of the time = sometimes, occasionally

10% of the time = seldom, rarely, hardly ever, almost never

0% of the time = never, not ever

EVER: to ask a question about frequency. It means "at any time."

Adverbs of frequency tell HOW OFTEN an action is repeated. They are commonly used
with present or past tense. Use "ever" to ask a question.

I usually do my homework in the library.

I never do my homework in the living room.

She seldom went to parties alone.

Using adverbs of frequency

When someone asks you a question such as "Do you EVER forget to make your bed?", you
can answer using an adverb of frequency:

Yes, I occasionally forget to make my bed" OR

Yes, I sometimes do. OR

No, I never do.

However, if someone asks "HOW OFTEN" an action occurs, you should include an
expression of time in your answer -- not simply an adverb of frequency.
Example: How often do you go to the bank? I (usually) go to the bank once a month.
Exercise 1:
Circle the adverbs of frequency in the following sentence.
1. John usually gets good grades because he always studies before an exam.
2. Charlie rarely wakes up early in the morning. He is often late to work, and his boss is
frequently upset with him.
3. Professor Mitchell's class is never boring. He always finds ways to keep the
students interested in the day's lessons.

Placement of adverbs of frequency

Frequency adverbs are placed ...
BEFORE the main verb unless the verb is BE.
I always study in the library when I have an exam.

AFTER the verb "Be".

I am always tired after classes.
Rule: Never put an adverb between the main verb and its object.
Wrong: I give almost always the dog a bath on Saturday.
Correct: I almost always give the dog a bath on Saturday.
Exercise 2:
Rewrite the sentence using the adverb in parentheses.
1. Danny is late to work. (almost never)
2. I study every weeknight during the semester. (always)
3. I have time to go to parties and visit friends. (rarely)
4. My sister calls me at night. (seldom)
5. I am sick. (hardly ever)
6. They are early to class. (usually)
7. Yoshi and Rhonda swim in the lake by their house. (occasionally)

Adverbs of frequency in questions

Rule: In questions, put the adverb of frequency after the subject.

Do you always sit in the same seat?

Do you ever sit in the same seat?

Is Jim never going to stop talking?

Is Jim ever going to stop talking?

Exercise 3: Rewrite the sentence using the adverb in parentheses.

1. Do you have a vacation? (ever)
2. When do you go to bed? (generally)

3. How often does he call you? (usually)

4. Did you travel during vacations when you lived in your country? (sometimes)
Short answers
Rule: In a short answer, put the frequency adverb between the subject and the verb
for ALL verbs.

Do you ever go hiking? Yes, I sometimes do.

Is your father ever sick? Yes, he occasionally is.

Exercise 4: Answer the question (short answer) using the adverb in parentheses.
1. Do you ever go to the store on Saturday? (yes -- frequently)
2. Is he ever tired in the evening? (yes -- sometimes)
3. Do you ever have a vacation? (yes -- occasionally)
4. Do they ever visit you? (no---never)

Negative frequency adverbs

Rule: The frequency adverbs "seldom", "rarely", and "never" are negative words. This
means that you do not need the auxiliary "do" when you use them in a negative
sentences. With "not + ever" use the auxiliary "do"
I don't enjoy bus trips.

I almost never enjoy bus


I don't ever enjoy bus trips

I don't leave my books in


I seldom leave my books in


I don't ever leave my books in


I do not fail exams in that


I rarely fail exams in that


I do not ever fail exams in that


The negative frequency adverbs (seldom, rarely, never, hardly ever, almost never, and
never) as well as "always" are always placed before the main verb unless the verb is
BE. (They are placed AFTER the verb "Be".) Their position is inflexible.

John is always late.

John is late always.
John always is late.

He never does it well.

He does it never well.

Never he does it well.

I seldom work hard.

I work hard seldom.

I work seldom hard.

Exercise 5:
Where can you put the adverb in this sentence? Indicate location with an "X."
1. I ask questions in that professor's class. (Never)
2. An impolite person interrupts others while they are speaking. (always)
3. Bad drivers signal when they are going to turn. (rarely)
4. It is cold in the spring in Miami. (seldom)
Exercise 6:
Answer the question using the adverb in parentheses.
1. Do you ever travel during your vacations?
(hardly ever)
(not ever)
2. Are your parents moving to New York?
(not ever)
3. Do you ever catch the flu in winter?
4. Do you ever enjoy traveling for business reasons.
(almost never)
(not ever)

Exercise 7:
Rewrite the sentence using the NEW adverb in parentheses.
1. I never celebrate Arbor Day. (not + ever)
2. Do you celebrate Arbor Day. (not + ever)
3. Do you celebrate Arbor Day. (ever)
4. Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your country? (not + ever)
5. Does your professor call on your in class? (ever)
6. I go to the library after this class. (never)
7. I have vacations. (negative with "ever")
8. I have vacations. (rarely)

Flexible adverbs
Frequency adverbs that mean the same as "sometimes" or "often" (usually, often,
frequently, generally, sometimes, occasionally) are flexible in their position. In addition
to the middle of the sentence (see the rules you learned above), they may also be at the
beginning or the end of the sentence.

Generally elections are held in September.

Elections are generally held in September.

Elections are held in September generally .

Flexible adverbs in negative sentences

These flexible adverbs of frequency are also flexible in negative sentences. They may
go in front of the negative verb or after it.

My husband usually doesn't feed the dogs early.

My husband doesn't usually feed the dogs early.

Exercise 8:
Put "X" in the sentence to indicate 4 possible locations for these adverbs.
1. He doesn't argue with his boss. (generally)
2. School begins after Labor Day. (usually)
3. The mail comes in the morning. (sometimes)
Exercise 9:
Unscramble these sentences.
1. I morning to listen news the in never the .
2. wears rarely Michelle to jeans class
3. you Don't ever wear to work suits ?
4. speaks never to Zach strangers.
5. travel summers usually abroad in They the .
6. eat low-fat frequently We yogurt dessert for .
7. The early comes almost always mail in the afternoon.
8. am Yes, frequently I .
9. never No, do I not.
10. am No, never not I .

Do ever take you to school the bus?


I to work ever with don't my go father.


believes She rarely what sees she television on .


Exercise 10: Triad activity

Instructions: Sit with two other students. Each of you picks one of the questions from
below (it is OK to pick the same one). Interview each other and write the answers about
your classmate as they talk about their activities. When you are finished, share your
answers with another group of 3 students or with the class.
1. What are some of the things you always do, sometimes do, and never do on Friday
2. What are some of the things you always do, sometimes do, and never do when you are
on vacation?
3. What are some of the things you always do, sometimes do, and never do when you use
the computers in the ESL labs?

Websites for more practice

On these practice quizzes, choose the correct form: one word is an adjective, the other an
adverb. See the answer after you select.
1. Adjective or Adverb Adjective or Adverb
2. Adjective or Adverb 2
3. Adjective or Adverb
4. Adverbs or Adjectives