Frequency noun phrase adverbial

From Teflpedia

A frequency noun phrase adverbial is a noun phrase adverbial that expresses frequency, and so is a type of frequency adverbial. In English, all frequency noun phrase adverbials express definite frequency, so are definite frequency noun phrase adverbials.

A simple English example is "twice a week".

Internal structure[edit | edit source]

Logically, these are a type of fraction, with two parts that can be identified as the numerator and denominator components.

The numerator component consists of a multiplier (a noun phrase that expresses the number of occurrences of something, for example "once", "twice", "thrice", "one time", "two times", "three times", "four times", etc). This does not need to be a definite number; "a few times", "several times", "many times", etc are also used. The words "once", "twice", "thrice" or "times" is the head of the entire definite frequency noun phrase adverbial.

The denominator component consists of either:

  • A second noun phrase that expresses a period of definite time. There are two types of these:
    • Singular, with an indefinite article e.g. "a day", "a week", "a fortnight", "a month", "a year".
    • Use "every" + a definite time period which may be singular or plural, e.g. "every day", "every two days", "every three weeks", etc. If "every" is used then the numerator can be grammatical zero which implies "once".
  • A prepositional phrase using the Latin preposition "per"[1] into which is embedded a singular noun that lacks a determiner, e.g. "per day", "per week", "per month", etc.

Hedging[edit | edit source]

These may be hedged, e.g. by adding "or so", or being non-definite about the number of the numerator component. Also, adverbs "about", "approximately" as adverbs. We usually don’t hedge an indefinite number, e.g. *"about several times a week".

Examples[edit | edit source]

The table below gives some examples; each entry can be combined with entries in the cell which is in its row. [zero or empty] means that slot is unoccupied. Phrases in parentheses are optional.

Hedge (optional) Numerator Denominator Hedge (optional)
  • (approximately)
  • (about)
  • (maybe)
  • (perhaps)
  • once
  • twice
  • once or twice
  • thrice
  • one time
  • two times
  • three times
  • one or two times
  • etc
  • an hour
  • a day
  • a week
  • a fortnight
  • a month
  • a year
  • etc
  • every hour
  • every day
  • every other day
  • every week
  • every two weeks
  • every month
  • etc
  • per week
  • per month
  • per hour
  • per year
  • etc
(or so)
[zero or empty]
  • a few times
  • several times
  • many times
  • etc

External structure[edit | edit source]

These can be used either as an adverbial that follows a verb, or as an adverbial. Like this:

  • I go to the gym twice a week
  • Twice a week, I go to the gym.

References[edit | edit source]