Indefinite frequency adverb

From Teflpedia

An indefinite frequency adverb is a single-word adverb that expresses indefinite frequency. They are used as frequency adverbials.

English examples include "always", ever, frequently, never, normally, occasionally, often, rarely, seldom, sometimes, usually.

Contrast definite frequency adverb.

Meaning[edit | edit source]

These express indefinite frequency, so say how often something happens, but don’t say exactly how often, merely roughly how often. They can be placed along a cline, e.g. …


Adverbs of frequency cline drawing 1.png

Form[edit | edit source]

Adverb position[edit | edit source]

Their adverb position is typically in mid-position, i.e. either after auxiliary verbs and be or before other verbs. However, frequently, normally, occasionally, often, sometimes and usually can also go at the beginning or end of a clause.

Ever[edit | edit source]

Ever is a bit complicated. It is used in questions, e.g. Have you ever been to Australia?, but not answers *I have ever been to Australia. Its negative form is never.

Normally[edit | edit source]

Normally, has two different meanings:

  • "I normally walk to school" means "I usually walk to school."
  • "I walk to school normally" means "I walk to school in a normal manner", i.e. not with a silly walk.

Of course, applied pragmatics means these are unlikely to be confused in real life, but…

Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

Chinese students in particular have difficulty with the /ʒ/ sound in usually and tend to pronounce it as "urually".