For October’s Grammar Lesson of the Month, we are looking at adverbs of frequency. We use adverbs of frequency to state how often we do (or do not) do something. These words are perfect for describing actions on a daily basis, so we will use them to talk about the day in the life of a CISL student.

What’s it like to be a CISL student? Your mornings are packed with English lessons and your afternoons are filled with fun activities in beautiful SD or SF! From exploring each city’s neighborhoods to taking advantage of CISL’s awesome afternoon activities, there is always something fun to do.

Adverbs of Frequency

Here is a simple chart to help you see how often we use these common adverbs.

FrequencyAdverb of FrequencyExample Sentence
100%alwaysWe always start class at 9 am.
90%usuallyMy teacher usually starts class with a warm up.
80%normally / generallyI normally have a bagel at break.
70%often / frequentlyI often go to the beach after class.
50%sometimesI sometimes go to the computer lab to study.
30%occasionallyI occasionally go to Coronado.
10%seldomI seldom go to La Jolla.
5%hardly ever / rarelyI hardly ever take the bus.
0%neverI never forget to do my homework.

CISL San Diego class

Placement of Adverbs of Frequency

Here are two of the more common uses of adverbs of frequency: in sentences with and without helping verbs.

subject + adverb + base verb (without to)

  • I always do my homework.
  • We seldom have more than an hour of homework per night.
  • I rarely stay out late, but I often go out.
  • She hardly ever misses a question on her tests.

subject + auxiliary + adverb + main verb 

  • We can always take an uber if we can’t find a cab.
  • I have never missed a day of class.
  • She can often be seen in the computer lab studying.


Rules to remember

The following adverbs can be placed at the start of a sentence:

Usually, normally, often, frequently, sometimes, occasionally


The following adverbs canNOT be placed at the start of a sentence:

Always, seldom, rarely, hardly, ever, never


We use hardly ever and never with positive, not negative verbs:

  • She hardly ever makes an English mistake.
  • My teacher never makes me feel uncomfortable.

We use ever in questions and negative statements:

  • Have you ever taken the TOEFL exam?
  • I haven’t ever taken the TOEFL exam.
  • I have never taken the TOEFL exam.


A day in the life of a CISL student

What’s it like to be a CISL student? Check out our sample paragraph and see how many adverbs of frequency you can spot!

My days as a CISL student are always fun. I usually wake up at about 7:30 am: this gives me plenty of time to get ready, grab some breakfast, and walk to school. (Sometimes, though, I sleep in until about 8:15!)

I typically walk to class with my roommate. We usually stop at the local coffee shop for a coffee and a pastry: she often has a panino and I typically get a bagel. We take our time walking to school because the weather is almost always perfect!

Coffee Shop Friends

Class always starts at 9 am. We usually begin with a warm up and we discuss what we did the day before. We always review homework (since we always have homework!) and then we begin an activity. We hardly ever work from our textbook; instead, we do many speaking activities. We are always doing something different and engaging that helps us improve our English skills. 

After class I generally go with my friends to lunch or we go shopping. Sometimes we participate in a CISL activity, such as a baseball game or a trip to a local museum. Whatever is on the calendar is always fun!

Girls Students Coffee Shop Shopping-Friends-Students

Occasionally I go home and take a nap and then go out later that evening, but I rarely do this on school nights. I save the weekends for parties and late night socializing. 

Something I always do? Watch the sunset! It’s like a ritual for Californians. I love watching the beautiful colors of the sky and seeing the sun sink into the ocean. Another end to a perfect day in CA!