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Fun Adverbs Of Frequency Activities

Alex Case
Entertaining speaking activities for “always”, “sometimes”, “never” etc, as well as similar expressions like “once every two months” and “three times a day”.

Students rarely have much problem picking up expressions like “sometimes” and “always”, but it is still worth spending some time on adverbs of frequency so that they get a feel for when the Present Simple tense is used and so how it differs from the Present Continuous. This article should give you more than enough ideas to practise this grammar point until well past when it is useful! All the ideas can also be used for more complex expressions like “once every couple of months” and “almost never”.

1. Verb Guessing, Adverb Clues
Students guess which verb their partner has chosen or been given from clues with adverbs of frequency like “I often do this”, “My grandmother sometimes does this” and “I usually do this in the bathroom”. This is a good way of combining this grammar point with the introduction of lots of useful vocabulary.

2. Guess The Person
Students describe a person’s routines using adverbs of frequency until their partner(s) guess who they are speaking about, e.g. “This person usually gets up really early” and “This person rarely faces danger” for a postman.

3. Discuss And Agree
Students try to agree on which adverb of frequency is suitable for each of the slightly controversial gapped sentences they have been given. These could be about politics (“What parents do with their children should __________ be controlled by the government”), language learning (“We want to have tests __________”), etc. Alternatively, they could try to agree on descriptions of reality such as “Young people in our country often __________” and “Politicians hardly ever __________”.

4. Personalised Sentence Completion
Students are given ten to twenty gapped sentences like “I __________ think that I chose the wrong job/course” or “I often __________ early in the morning” that they should complete to make them true. They read out just the part they wrote, and their partners try to guess which sentence those words were written in.

5. Always More Or Less Often
Give a student a card that says “more often” or “less often” on it without their partners seeing it. The other students ask them “How often” questions, and they should make sure that all their answers are inaccurate in the way written on their card, e.g. saying “very often” and “four times a week” when the real answers would be “often” and “three times a week” because they have the “more often” card. Their partners should guess whenever they feel sure about which of the two cards the person answering the questions is holding, getting one point for a correct guess but losing two points for a wrong one.

6. Sometimes More Than Sometimes
This is a variation on the game above. A student makes half their answers more often than reality and half their answers less often than reality, and then their partners have to guess which is which. This works best with four or six answers, i.e. two or three of each.

7. Taboo How Often Questions
Give students a big list of personal questions starting with “How often”. Some of these should be normal questions like “How often do you take the underground?” and some of them should be more personal ones like “How often do you feel jealous?” Students should grade the questions from one point for totally normal questions to five points for completely taboo ones. They should then take turns choosing a number of points that they want to answer, e.g. “A four point question, please”. Their partner chooses one of the four point questions and the original person gets four points if they answer it properly or no points if they refuse to answer (probably because they think it is too personal). Their partners can ask them follow up questions like “Why so often?”, but they don’t have to answer those if they don’t want to. The person with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

Written by Alex Case for
Alex Case is the author of TEFLtastic and the Teaching...: Interactive Classroom Activities series of business and exam skills e-books for teachers