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How often

Level: beginner

The commonest adverbials of frequency are:

always never normally
rarely seldom sometimes
occasionally often usually

We usually put these one-word adverbials of frequency in front of the main verb:

We often spend Christmas with friends.
I have never enjoyed myself so much.

but they usually come after the verb be:

He was always tired in the evening.
We are never late for work.

Sometimes these adverbials have an intensifier or mitigator:

He is very rarely late for work.
We nearly always spend Christmas with friends.

We use the adverbial a lot to mean often or frequently. It comes at the end of the clause:

We go to the cinema a lot.

We can also use a lot with another time adverbial:

We go to the cinema a lot at the weekend.

We use much/a lot with a negative to mean not often:

We don't go out much/a lot. (= We don't go out often.)

How often 1


We often use phrases with every as adverbials of frequency. We use every with words like minute, hour, day, week, month and year:

There is a big celebration every year.
We have a meeting twice every week.
I usually go home once every two months.
There is a leap year every four years.

We also use every with days of the week and months of the year:

We have a meeting every Monday.
We go on holiday every August.

We use the phrase every other:

We will email you every other day. (= on alternate days)
We go to see my mother every other week. (= in alternate weeks)

We use phrases with once, twice, three times, four times, etc. and a period of time:

I go swimming twice a week.
I see my old school friends four or five times a year.

How often 2


We use how often and ever to ask questions about frequency. how often comes at the beginning of the clause:

How often do you go to the cinema?
How often have you been here?

ever comes before the main verb:

Do you ever go to the cinema at the weekend?
Have you ever been there?


Hello Arvind Singh,

The correct word order here is 'I shall ever remember you' as the adverb ('ever') comes after the auxiliar verb ('shall') and before the main verb ('remember'). It is the same for other adverbs related to time or frequency such as 'always', 'never', 'sometimes' and so on.

However, this sentence is not a very natural one as we would really use 'ever' in questions rather than affirmative sentences ('Will you ever...' / 'Have you ever...').

A more natural way to express this would be to use 'always':

I shall always remember you.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you sir

Thanks for you effort

Which one is true?
Twice a weekend or twice weekend
what is the difference?

Hello melorin,

The correct form is 'twice a weekend'.

'Twice weekend' is not a correct form.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

is " every two weeks" similar to "twice a week"?

Hello lisa Tran,

No, it's quite different. If I do something every two weeks it means that there is a gap of two weeks between each action. In other words, 'every two weeks' means 'two times in each month' (if we say there are four weeks in a month).

If I do something twice a week it means there are two actions in every week. In other words, 'twice a week' means 'eight times in each month' (if we say there are four weeks in a month).


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi. Can we say " I often don't play outside."? Has the sentence got a different meaning with "I don't often play outside." in Semantics?
I believe the common sentence is "I don't often play outside." Since adv of frequency comes before main verb,after auxiliary verb as presented above.

Hello Eto,

The most common position for adverbs of frequency like 'often' is mid-position, i.e. just before the verb ('I often play outside'), and when there is an auxiliary verb, between the auxiliary and main verb ('I don't often play outside'). In this latter case, there is simple negation of the affirmative sentence.

When the adverb comes before the negation ('I often don't play outside') this can imply emphasis on the negation. For example, in 'I really don't like playing outside', 'really' emphasises the negation in a way that is different from (and much stronger than) 'I don't really like playing outside'.

In the case of your sentence, however, I'd say the emphasis is more a matter of perspective. 'I don't often play outside' has no particular emphasis, but 'I often don't play outside' could be used, for example, to insist on the fact that you don't often play outside. Perhaps another person was saying that you do, and you want to insist that you don't.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Most of the times, I make mistake with 'at' and 'in'. For Ex: Do you ever go to the cinema at the weekend?

In this case, is it incorrect to say "Do you ever go to the cinema IN the weekend?"

Please clarify.

Ananth Krishna.