Use Adverbs of Frequency to Talk About the Past

Bad Eating Habits

When I was a little girl, I did not often eat healthy food. I never wanted to eat salad. I rarely ate fruit. I usually liked eating my mother’s meat loaf and home-made chicken nuggets, or something delicious like that. I know, I was a bad little girl. But I am better now.

How Often?

Did you notice the words I was using to say how often or how rarely I ate healthy food? This is another useful way to use past tense. In another post, I explained how we can use simple past tense to talk about past habits with “used to.” We can also do this with adverbs of frequency: adverbs that say how often something happens.

Adverbs of Frequency With Simple Past

We need adverbs of frequency when we want to explain that something happens or happened many times, (a frequent happening,” not so many times, (a less frequent happening”, or did not happen. Some common adverbs of frequency are: never, rarely, sometimes, often, usually, always. In this list, the frequency goes from nothing, “never,” to most frequent, “always.” Here are some examples from my story.

I never wanted to eat salad.

I rarely ate fruit.

I usually liked eating my mother’s meat loaf and home-made chicken nuggets, or something delicious like that.

The Same and Different

When we use adverbs of frequency to talk about habits, actions, or happenings in the past, we can use them to talk about things that are not true now, like when we use “used to,.” or we can use them to talk about things that are still true now. For example, it is still true that I rarely want to eat fruit. But I often want to eat salad. the first is the same as before, (still true), and the second is different from before, (not true now). When we talk about something that is still true, we must also use simple past. This is because our focus, the important part of the speech, is that it was true in the past. For example, when I wrote that I rarely ate fruit, I was writing about something that is still true. But I was focusing on the time that I was a little girl. So I had to use simple past tense because I am not a little girl now.

Your Turn

This is not a hard lesson, but it is still important to practice. Leave a comment to tell me about some things that happened in your past. Use adverbs of frequency to tell me how often they happened. Did you eat salad often? Did you always eat fried food? Of course, you can talk about a different topic. But don’t forget your adverbs of frequency.

  • Yeldos

    I usually liked eating fried food, but know I try to eat unhealthy food rarely.