Monday, June 22, 2009

Frequency Adverbs : Frequently Asked Questions

What are Frequency Adverbs?

Frequency Adverbs are a group mof adverbs which answer the question: How often?Examples are : never, always, often, seldom , rarely etc . They show similarity in grammatical behavor in sentences .

What is the position of Frequency Adverbs in sentences ?

Frequency Adverbs come just before main verbs in sentences . When a compound verb-form is used , they come between the auxiliary and the main verb . When there are two auxiliaries, they come after the first auxiliary . Look at these examples :

*He never comes late for work.
*He has never told a lie to anyone .
* He has always been trying to win her favor .

What is the position of the Frequency Ad verbs when the verb is the lexical verb be ?

The lexical verb be takes several forms like is, are, am etc . In English sentences Frequency Adverbs come immediately after the lexical be . Look at these examples :

*Indian women are always committed to their families>
* Mothers are sendom strict with their sons >

Do Frequency Adverbs ever come at the beginning of sentences?

Yes, they do, sometimes . When they are used at the beginning of sentences for emphasis , subject and operator exchange positions . This is called subject-operato inversion .The term operator is used in modern grammar to signify the first auxiliary , or the dummy auxiliary do or the lexical verb be . Look at these examples

* We seldom see a comet .
Seldom do we see a comet .

*He has never seen an elephant .
Never has he seen an elephant .

He was never a trusted friend of mine .
Never was he a trusted friend of mine .

Please note that always is not fronted like other frequency adverbs

What is the position of Frequency Adverbs when modal auxiliaries used to , have ti, and ought to are used ?

Strictly speaking , used to and have to are not modal auxiliaries . They may be called substitute modal auxiliaries . Frequency Adverbs come before these auxiliaries . However, ought to behaves somewhat differently . In conversational English it behaves like used to and have to . but in formal English frequency adverbs come between ought and to as in the sentence "You ought always to mix with good people ".

I will continue the discussion in my next post

Thank you

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