ADVERBS OF TIME

In this lesson, we learn what adverbs of time are, and how to use them in a sentence. There is a video lesson on adverbs of time, attached at the end of the post, you can directly scroll down to the end and watch it if you prefer watching videos.

What is an adverb of time?

Definition: an adverb of time modifies a verb and tells us when it happens. It can also tell us ‘how often’ and ‘for how long’ an action takes place.

Adverbs of time are quite common to find in sentences.

A list of adverbs of time
A list of adverbs of time

Adverbs of time (WHEN)

Here is the list of adverbs of time that modify a verb and tell us ‘when’ an action takes place:

  • Today
  • Tomorrow
  • Later
  • Now
  • Then
  • Last night
  • That day/month/year
  • Next week/month/year
  • Tonight

These adverbs of time tell us ‘a certain point in time’ when an action takes place.

Examples:

  • I’ll finish the assignment today.
  • Sam is coming to my place tomorrow.
  • Last night, we celebrated his birthday and danced the entire night.
  • I will call you later.
  • They are playing chess now/right now.
  • He wasn’t feeling well that day.
  • Rosia is getting married next month.
  • Are you doing anything tonight?

Adverbs of time (HOW OFTEN)

Here’s the list of adverbs of time that modify a verb and tell us ‘how often’ an action takes place, took place or will take place:

Indefinite frequency

  • Always
  • Daily
  • Usually
  • Frequently/often
  • Sometimes
  • Occasionally
  • Rarely
  • Seldom
  • Hardly ever
  • Never
  • Generally
  • Normally

Definite frequency

  • Hourly
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly
  • Quarterly
  • Fortnightly
  • Regularly

These adverbs of time modify a verb and tell us how frequently an action takes place. They are called adverbs of frequency.

Examples:

  • I always meditate before having breakfast.
  • We daily play cricket.
  • My friend Moxey usually has dinner at my place.
  • They often come here and drink.
  • My friends sometimes play pranks on me.
  • Monu and I go on random trips occasionally.
  • My school friends rarely call me.
  • I seldom draw cartoons.
  • You should never play with snakes.
  • I generally don’t teach high school students, but I’m down this time.
  • Max comes to see us regularly.
  • He gets paid hourly.
  • The group meets weekly at the park.
  • The company pays us monthly.
  • The reports are evaluated quarterly.
  • We’ll call the kids and check on them fortnightly.
  • We have been working out regularly.

Adverbs of time (for how long)

Here’s a list of adverbs of time that modify a verb and tell us ‘for how long’ an action takes or took place:

  • For 3 days
  • For all night/all night
  • For all-day
  • For 20 minutes
  • For some time (indefinite time period)
  • For some days/weeks/months/years (indefinite time period)
  • Since last night
  • Since last year
  • Since 2010
  • Since the beginning of the year

Examples:

  • I haven’t been sleeping for 3 days.
  • We have been working out all night.
  • She had been waiting for 20 minutes when you arrived there.
  • We have been working here for some time.
  • We have known each other since our childhood.
  • Sam has lived here since 1996.
  • They have been facing legal troubles since the beginning of the year.

Adverbs of time (sequences and others)

Here’s a list of adverbs of time that modify a verb but don’t refer to a specific time:

  • Earlier
  • Before
  • Early
  • Already
  • Eventually
  • Finally
  • Later
  • Lately
  • Yet
  • Recently
  • Just
  • Next
  • Soon
  • Still

Examples:

  • He had come to see me earlier too.
  • We will have to get this project done before the deadline.
  • She went to bed early.
  • The cab arrived earlier than the expected time.
  • The fight has been booked already.
  • Have you seen us before?
  • If you keep working hard, you will achieve your goals eventually.
  • Finally, they have approved my project.
  • I will talk to him later.
  • We have had a lot of fights lately.
  • The food has not been cooked yet.
  • The shop has been moved to a different location recently.
  • I recently visited his hotel.
  • We just finished the food.
  • He just left for the office.
  • The last episode of the series will be aired next.
  • Let’s meet soon.
  • The match is starting soon.
  • It is still raining.
  • We are still waiting for the bus.

Adverb phrases of time

Here are some adverb phrases of time:

  • In some time
  • Before the match
  • After the meeting
  • While playing
  • Once a week
  • Twice a day
  • Thrice a month
  • On Monday mornings
  • Every day
  • Every month
  • All the time
  • In the summer
  • The day after tomorrow
  • The day before yesterday
  • Very soon
  • Very late
  • During the winter
  • In 1999
  • In 30 minutes

Examples:

  • The event is starting in some time.
  • We can finish it before the match.
  • I will call you after the meeting.
  • He broke his left hand while playing football.
  • Julie checks on her mother once a week.
  • My father still does yoga twice a day.
  • We all feel blue on Monday mornings.
  • Archit makes a new friend every month.
  • My friends prank on me all the time.
  • I don’t feel like moving out of my house in the summer because of the heat.
  • The store will be closed the day after tomorrow.
  • Jon saw a movie actor the day before yesterday.
  • We will open up the store very soon.
  • He got up very late.
  • Children love coming here and playing cricket during the winner.
  • Adam started the business in 1999.
  • The food will be delivered in 30 minutes.

Adverb clauses of time

Adverb clauses of time are dependent clauses that modify a verb in terms of time. They start with the following subordinating conjunctions: when, after, before, as soon as, until, the moment, while, since, etc.

Examples:

  • I will call you back as soon as the meeting gets over.
  • Nancy got angry and left the party when Jon starting talking about her obesity.
  • Let’s join the classes before the seats are full.
  • We starting jumping with joy as soon as he hit the winning six.
  • Don’t move out of the place until we come back.
  • We all got panicked the moment the tiger came out of the cage.

A list of all adverbs of time

ADVERBS OF TIMEMEANINGPOSITIONEXAMPLES
Alwaysrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is 100 percentAfter the subject• She always carries a water bottle.
• I always tell the truth.
Usuallyrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is close to 90 percent1. After the subject (common)
2. At the end of the sentence
• My teacher usually has fun while teaching.
• Ron doesn’t drink usually.
Frequently/Oftenrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is close to 75-80 percent1. After the subject (common)
2. At the end of the sentence
• Jon frequently comes to the school and meets the kids.
• She doesn’t swear often.
Sometimesrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is close to 40 percent1. After the subject (common)
2. At the end of the sentence
3. Beginning of the sentence
• He sometimes acts strangely.
• Sometimes, I feel like becoming a monk.
• Jon follows my orders sometimes.
Occasionallyrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is close to 30 percent1. After the subject
2. At the end of the sentence (common)
3. Beginning of the sentence
• We occasionally wear this dress.
• They went out on a date occasionally.
• Occasionally, he would bring us pancakes.
Rarelyrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is close to 20 percent1. After the subject (common)
2. Beginning of the sentence
• She rarely attended the computer classes.
• Rarely do I listen to English music.
Seldomrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is close to 10 percent1. After the subject • He seldom took us to movies.
• The teachers seldom discuss about the mental health.
Hardly everrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is close to 5 percent1. After the subject• Alex hardly ever joined the meetings.
• He hardly ever gives tips to waiters.
Neverrefers to a frequency (time) of an action that is zero percent1. After the subject (common)
2. Beginning of the sentence
• You should never give up on your goals.
• Never did we enjoy being at his place.
Todayrefers to the present day (does not indicate a specific time of the day though)1. After the object/modifier (common)
2. Beginning of the sentence
• I bought a cat today.
• Today, she feels sick.
Yesterdayrefers to the previous day1. After the object/modifier (common)
2. Beginning of the sentence
• The kid lost his bag yesterday.
• Yesterday, we celebrated Jon’s birthday.
Nowrefers to the present time1. After the object/modifier (common)
2. Beginning of the sentence
• I am coming to see you now.
• Now I understand what you are going through.
Then Refers to a past time that both the speaker and the listener know aboutAfter the object/modifier (common)• He was taking a class then.
SoonRefers to a future time that’s close to the presentAfter the object/modifier • The classes will be starting soon.
• The HR will call you soon. Be ready and available!
TonightRefers to the night of the present day1. After the object/modifier (common)
2. Beginning of the sentence
• We are playing video games videos.
• Tonight, the Prime Minister will address the citizens.
LaterRefers to an unspecific future timeAfter the object/modifier • We will do it later.
YetUsed in a negative sentence and refers to the present timeAfter the object/modifier• I have not received my salary yet.
• Joe hasn’t arrived yet.
Dailydone on a daily basisAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• I meditate daily.
• He will call you daily to check on you.
Weeklydone once a weekAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• They pay him weekly.
• We will be coming here weekly.
Fortnightlydone every two weeksAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• The students at the hostel pay for the food fortnightly.
The group is called fortnightly for a meeting.
Hourlydone once an hourAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• Some people are paid hourly.
Monthlydone once a monthAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• The teachers are told to check the papers monthly.
Quarterlydone once every three monthsAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• The taxes are recorded quarterly.
Yearlydone once a yearAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• The parade at the ground happens yearly.
Regularlydone at a regular interval (equal amount of time space between two events)1. After the object/modifier (common)
2. After the subject
• We meet regularly to prepare for the exams and help each other.
• He regularly colors his hair.
Earlierhappening or done before the usual or expected timeAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• She won’t come earlier; she never does.
• I created the application earlier than my friends.
• The cops had come earlier too.
Beforerefers to a time earlier than the other time or the present timeAt the end of a sentence (after the object or modifier)• I should have informed you before.
• If we had known him before, he would have been in our team.
Earlybefore/earlier than the time that was expectedAt the end of a sentence (after the verb, the object or the modifier)• We arrived early at the party.
• His part in the film came quite early.
Alreadyto focus on the focus that something (action) was completed before something else (action)1. After the object/modifier
2. After the subject or the helping verb (common)
• The train had left already when we reached the station.
• We have already finished the assignment.
Eventuallyat the end of a period or process (unknown though)1. After the object/modifier (common)
2. After the subject or the helping verb
• Keep up the good work; you will get the position eventually.
• He will eventually understand his mistakes.
Finallyafter a long time (uncertain)1. After the subject
2. Beginning of the sentence
• Ron finally got married with Annie.
• He finally got a teaching job.
• Finally, he has left the job.
Laterrefers to a future time (uncertain)At the end of a sentence (after the object or the modifier)• They asked us to come later.
• We can eat later. Let’s call him first.
LatelyRecently, a time in the past which is close to the present At the end of a sentence (after the verb, the object or the modifier)• He has been acting strange lately.
• Virat hasn’t been scoring runs lately.
Recentlylately, refers to a time that is close to the present1. After the subject
2. At the end of the sentence (common)
3. Beginning of the sentence
• My parents recently discovered about my job.
• Recently, Jane had a surgery.
• Recently, you have been spending a lot of money.

Yet
until the present timeAt the end of a sentence (after the object or the modifier)• She hasn’t come home yet.
• We haven’t boarded the train yet.
Justa time extremely close to the present time (a short time ago)After the subject or the helping verb• Your father has just called me.
• Simran just broke up with me.
• I have just started teaching.
Nextright after something elseAt the end of a sentence (after the object or the modifier)• What are they doing next?
• We will open the box next.
Stillused for saying that an action or a situation continues to exist up to a particular time, especially when it seems surprisingAfter the subject or the helping verb• I am still working on my project.
• Jon was still eating lunch when the class started.
Position of adverbs of time
Adverbs of time

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