What are Adverbs of Time, Duration, and Frequency?

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  2. Adverbs of Time, Duration, and Frequency

What Is an Adverb of Time?

An adverb of time tells us when something happens.


Exams finished last week.

The store opened yesterday.

What Is an Adverb of Duration?

An adverb of duration tells us for how long something happens. Adverbs of duration mostly contain one of the words: since and for.


The store has been open since Monday.

Mom hasn't been working for a long time.

What Is an Adverb of Frequency?

An adverb of frequency tells us how often something happens.


It rains here nearly every day.

Daniel goes to the movies once in a week.

Where Do We Place Adverbs in Sentences?

  • Often, we place adverbs of time at the end of sentences.


    School opens tomorrow.

    Uncle Jeremy is coming next month.

  • For the purpose of emphasis, an adverb of time can be placed at the beginning of a sentence.


    First, I'm going to ask you to be seated.

    Finally, Martha passed the college admission test.

  • To express formality, we sometimes place adverbs of time before the verb.


    The teacher then went on to explain the concept.

    I now will continue to solve the riddle.

  • We often place adverbs of duration at the end of sentences.


    Dad has been away for about a week.

    The Johnsons have been in London since Tuesday.

  • We often place adverbs of frequency before the main verb but after the auxiliary verb. However, when the main verb is “was”, “am”, “is”, “are”, etc., the adverb of frequency follows it.


    Nathan often exceeds teachers' expectations.

    You must always abide by the school's rules.

    Harry is never late to school.

How to Order Multiple Adverbs

When we use adverbs of time, frequency, and duration in a sentence, we should stick to the following order.

The adverb of duration followed by the adverb of frequency and then the adverb of time.


Jacob worked at the store for two days every week last month.

Inversion with Negative Adverbs

The conventional order of an English sentence means the adverb goes between the subject and the main verb. That said, with a negative adverb around, this order can sometimes be reversed. The adverb is placed at the beginning of the sentence to add formality, dramatic effect, or emphasis to the sentence.


Clara seldom goes to the cinema. (normal sentence)
Seldom does Clara go to the cinema. (inversion)

We hardly eat outside. (normal sentence)
Hardly do we eat outside. (inversion)

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