Frequency Adverbs and Their Usages


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First, let us get a very basic knowledge of what ‘Adverb’ is. An adverb is a word that usually modifies or qualifies the verb in a sentence. But this word can modify an adjective or even an adverb itself as well. Well, there are several types of adverbs like adverb of time, adverb of place, adverb of degree, adverb of frequency, adverb of manner etc. Of them, the most important and complex one is ‘Adverb of Frequency’ or ‘Frequency Adverb.’

In today’s lesson on adverb, we will discuss ‘Frequency Adverb’. Some common frequency adverbs are ‘hardly ever,’ ‘rarely’, scarcely and ‘seldom’ which have quite same meanings. We use frequency adverb to talk about situations, events or actions that ‘almost never happen’ or ‘do not happen very often.’ Look at the sentences below to have a deep understanding on this :

1. My younger brother hardly ever visits village home. (means he almost never goes to the village).
2. Our boss hardly ever holds a smile on his face. (means he almost never smiles).
3. It’s very strange that you hardly ever smile. (Means you almost never smile).
4. Offices scarcely take care of staff’s families in their difficult times.
5. My mother hardly looks after her grandchildren.
6. Our math teacher seldom shouts at his students. (means he almost never makes shouts at the students)

Note : Frequency adverbs themselves have got negative meanings. So when they are used in sentences, we refrain from using negative words like no or not in them. Also note that hardly ever or hardly is mainly used in casual or spoken language while rarely, scarcely and seldom are more common in writing or formal use. See the sentences as follows :

1. University teachers in Bangladesh hardly speak English in class.
2. People in Bangladesh hardly use English when they communicate with each other.
3. University students in Bangladesh scarcely take their exams in English.
4. Do you know the man standing over there under the tree? No, I hardly do.
5. Do you have any idea about how much the dress can cost me? No, I hardly do.
6. My father hardly speaks English.
7. Do you speak English in office? No, I hardly do.

Final Note : Frequency adverbs ‘Hardly and scarcely’ in the above sentences mean ‘almost not at all’. well, we usually put these adverbs in mid position of a sentence, particularly between the subject and the main verb in the sentence.

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