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30 Spanish Adverbs of Frequency

Spanish adverbs of frequency are used, well, frequently to say how often something happens. 

You may know the most basic ones like siempre (always) and nunca (never), but there are many more ways to express frequency in Spanish.

In this article, you’ll learn 30 Spanish adverbs of frequency and some important adverb placement rules. 

By learning these words and how to use them in a sentence, you can communicate more effectively and better understand native speakers. 

Contents


What Is an Adverb?

By definition, adverbs are invariable words that modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs. Adverbs never modify nouns (you cannot say carro rápidamente — car quickly, but you can say levantarse rápidamente — to get up quickly).

There are different groups of Spanish adverbs and each of them answers different specific questions. For instance:

  • Adverbs of place answer the question “where?” (for example: aquí — here, allí — there, cerca — close/near).
  • Adverbs of time answer the question “when?” (for example: hoy — today, ayer — yesterday, mañana — tomorrow).
  • Adverbs of frequency answer the question “how often?” (for example: siempre — always, nunca — never, a veces — sometimes).

In this article, we’ll be focusing on the last group: Spanish adverbs of frequency.

What Is a Spanish Adverb of Frequency?

Simply put, adverbs of frequency allow us to talk about how often an action is done. They’re used in Spanish to achieve the same goal as in English. 

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If you run every day, you’ll need to use one adverb of frequency, whereas if you never run, you’ll have to choose a different adverb. The bare structure of the sentence remains the same, but the meaning changes drastically. That’s how powerful adverbs can be:

Corro a diario. (I run every day.)

No corro nunca. (I never run.)

In the following sections, you’ll get to know many of the most common Spanish adverbs of frequency and then learn where to place them in a sentence. 

Common Spanish Adverbs of Frequency

As with English, Spanish has a substantial set of adverbs of frequency that can fill all our language needs. The following is by no means a complete list, but it’s a good start.

Although some of the following words and expressions can mean slightly different things for each of us, the list generally follows a level of frequency from “always” to “never.”

Adverb of frequencyTranslationExamples
siempre always, every timeSiempre tengo hambre. (I'm always hungry.)

El color amarillo me ha gustado siempre. (I've always liked the color yellow.)

Siempre que viajamos, María se pone nerviosa. (Whenever we travel, María gets nervous.)
casi siemprealmost alwaysCasi siempre duermo en el sofá. (I almost always sleep on the sofa.)

Juan está enfadado casi siempre. (Juan is almost always angry.)

Casi siempre llegamos a casa al mismo tiempo. (We almost always arrive home at the same time.)
constantementeconstantlyEstamos peleando constantemente. (We're constantly arguing.)

Estaba tan nervioso que no podía parar de mirar por la ventana constantemente. (I was so nervous I couldn't stop looking through the window constantly.)

Constantemente repites lo mismo una y otra vez. (You constantly repeat the same thing over and over again.)
con frecuencia/
frecuentemente
frequentlyEscucho música con frecuencia. (I listen to music frequently.)

Frecuentemente vamos de paseo por el bosque. (We frequently go for a walk in the woods.)

Lo veo por aquí frecuentemente. (I see him around frequently.)
a menudooftenVeo la tele a menudo. (I watch TV often.)

A menudo salgo a correr. (I often go for a run.)

Me gusta beber agua a menudo. (I like drinking water often.)
muy a menudovery oftenMe visto de negro muy a menudo. (I dress in black very often.)

Mi hermana viene a visitarme muy a menudo. (My sister comes to visit me very often.)

Solía montar en bicicleta muy a menudo. (He used to ride a bike very often.)
mucho/muchas vecesoften, a lot, many timesViajo mucho a España. (I travel to Spain a lot.)

He leído este libro muchas veces. (I have read this book many times.)

Muchas veces olvido apagar la luz. (Many times I forget to switch the lights off.)
a diariodaily, every dayMe ducho a diario. (I take a shower daily.)

Voy a la escuela a diario. (I go to school every day.)

A diario desayunamos a las siete. (We eat breakfast every day at seven.)
cada + [time expression]every + [time expression]Tómate la pastilla cada ocho horas. (Take the pill every eight hours.)

Vamos a Argentina cada verano. (We travel to Argentina every summer.)

Almuerzo en ese restaurante cada domingo. (I have lunch at that restaurant every Sunday.)
todos los + [time expression]every + [time expression]Practico español todos los días. (I practice Spanish every day.)

Limpian la casa todas las semanas. (They clean the house every week.)

Vamos al parque todos los sábados. (We go to the park every Saturday.)
diariamente

semanalmente

mensualmente

anualmente
daily

weekly

monthly

annually

Voy a la escuela diariamente. (I go to school daily.)

Estudio español semanalmente. (I study Spanish weekly.)

Voy al cine mensualmente. (I go to the cinema monthly.)

Recibo dinero de mis padres anualmente. (I receive money from my parents annually.)
normalmente 

generalmente

regularmente

usualmente
normally

generally

regularly

usually
Normalmente me levanto a las seis. (I normally get up at six.)

Generalmente desayuno en casa. (I generally have breakfast at home.)

Regularmente hago ejercicio. (I regularly do exercise.)

Usualmente duermo ocho horas. (I usually sleep for eight hours.)
[number] + vez/veces al/a la + [period of time][number] times a [period of time]Voy al gimnasio cinco veces a la semana. (I go to the gym five times a week.)

Como carne tres veces al mes. (I eat meat three times a month.)

Viajo a España una vez al año. (I travel to Spain once a year.)
a veces

ocasionalmente 

en ocasiones
sometimes

occasionally

sometimes, occasionally
A veces me despierto en mitad de la noche. (Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night.)

Visito a mi tío ocasionalmente. (I visit my uncle occasionally.)

En ocasiones llueve durante los partidos de fútbol. (Sometimes it rains during soccer matches.)
de vez en cuandofrom time to timeVamos al cine de vez en cuando. (We go to the cinema from time to time.)

Solo comen pescado de vez en cuando. (They only eat fish from time to time.)

De vez en cuando viene a pedir ayuda. (From time to time he comes to ask for help.)
poco/pocas vecesseldom, few timesVengo poco por aquí. (I seldom come here.)

Lo he visto muy pocas veces. (I have seen him very few times.)

Entreno muy poco. (I very seldom train.)
rara vez 

casi nunca 

apenas
hardly ever

rarely, hardly ever

scarcely, hardly ever
Rara vez monto en bicicleta. (I hardly ever ride a bike.)

Casi nunca me dices la verdad. (You rarely tell me the truth.)

Apenas nos vemos últimamente. (We hardly ever see each other lately.)
nunca

jamás 

nunca jamás
never

never, ever

never ever
Nunca me visto de blanco. (I never dress in white.)

Jamás he tomado drogas. (I've never done drugs.)

Nunca jamás volvería con él. (I'd never ever go back to him.)

Where to Place Spanish Adverbs

There’s a general rule that says Spanish adverbs always go either before or after the word they modify. This rule gives us examples like these:

Antonio come mucho. (Antonio eats a lot.)

María es muy guapa. (María is very pretty.)

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Corres demasiado rápido. (You’re running too fast.)

It would be nice if this ended here. However, there are a couple of additional facts you should know.

In short, the position of an adverb in a sentence depends on the type of word it’s modifying. But even in this case, there can be exceptions to the rule, so let’s have a look at all the different possibilities we can find in Spanish.

1. Adverbs modifying verbs

If an adverb is modifying a verb, it will normally follow that verb:

Te quiero mucho. (I love you so much.)

Juana estudia sistemáticamente. (Juana studies systematically.)

Me parece que has crecido un poco. (I think you’ve grown a bit.)

However, you can place the adverb right before the verb if you want to add emphasis:

Demasiado lento hablas. (You speak too slow.)

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Mucho has crecido tú. (You’ve grown a lot.)

Allí está mi coche. (There’s my car.)

Finally, there’s a key difference between English and Spanish with regard to perfect tenses. While English allows you to add adverbs between “to have” and the past participle, Spanish does not:

No he comido nunca camarones. (I’ve never eaten shrimp.)

Mi hermano ya ha llegado. (My brother has already arrived.)

2. Adverbs modifying adjectives

The rule with adjectives is pretty easy: Always place the adverb in front of the adjective. Have a look at some examples:

Tu hijo es muy alto. (Your son is very tall.)

Estás algo pálido. (You’re somewhat pale.)

Esta rosa es demasiado cara. (This rose is too expensive.)

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However, you’ll see quite often that adverbs can appear after the adjective. This happens because the adverb modifies the whole sentence (as you’ll see later on), not just the adjective:

Estás algo pálido hoy. (You’re somewhat pale today.)

In the example above, “today” cannot modify “pale.” “Today pale” doesn’t make any sense. Here’s another example:

Estamos muy cansados esta tarde. (We’re very tired this afternoon.)

3. Adverbs modifying adverbs

Yes, adverbs can modify adverbs, too! Once again, the rule for this is very simple: the adverb doing the modifying should always be placed before the modified one:

Juan come muy rápido. (Juan eats very fast.)

Just like in English, saying “fast very” would not make sense. Here are two more examples:

Esta máquina trabaja bastante despacio. (This machine works pretty slowly.)

Este chico lee fantásticamente bien. (This guy reads fantastically well.)

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4. Adverbs modifying whole sentences

If an adverb is modifying a whole sentence—like the majority of frequency adverbs do—it can be placed at the beginning or at the end of that sentence. You decide where to place it, depending on whether you want the sentence to emphasize the action or the time when it took/is taking/will take place.

Iremos al cine mañana. (We’ll go to the cinema tomorrow.)

Since the sentence above places the action of going to the cinema first, that action is more important than the time when it will happen. To shift the emphasis to the time of the action instead, place it first:

Mañana iremos al cine. (Tomorrow we’ll go to the cinema.)

Here’s the concept in action once again:

Me rompí la pierna el año pasado. (I broke my leg last year.)

El año pasado me rompí la pierna. (Last year I broke my leg.)

How to Learn Spanish Adverbs of Frequency

To really drill in the adverbs we’ve just covered, it’s helpful to see them used in context. You’ll find that your recall will be much better when you use them or hear them used in a conversation, versus reading them from a list.

Seek out opportunities to practice with Spanish speakers and listen to Spanish audio to see where you can spot them used.

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Hearing these words and phrases in action through authentic content on a language learning program like FluentU can also be extremely useful.

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Quiz on Spanish Adverbs

To practice Spanish adverbs and their placement rules, take this quiz without scrolling up! If you need some more practice, just keep reviewing the article and then refresh the page to retake the quiz until you get a perfect score. 

0%
If an adverb is modifying a verb, it will normally go _____.
Correct! Wrong!

To add emphasis, you can place the adverb _____.
Correct! Wrong!

An adverb that modifies another adverb should always be placed _____.
Correct! Wrong!

Which Spanish adverb of frequency means "sometimes"?
Correct! Wrong!

Which Spanish adverb of frequency means "hardly ever"?
Correct! Wrong!

"Anualmente" is _____ frequent _____ "a menudo."
Correct! Wrong!

"De vez en cuando" is _____ frequent _____ "jamás."
Correct! Wrong!

"Apenas" is _____ frequent _____ "rara vez."
Correct! Wrong!

_______ voy al gimnasio en la mañana, pero mañana voy en la tarde.
Correct! Wrong!

Todos los _______ voy a la casa de mi hermana.
Correct! Wrong!

A mi primo le encanta la pasta. La come _______.
Correct! Wrong!

_______ viviría en una gran ciudad.
Correct! Wrong!

_______ tomo alcohol, solo 1 o 2 veces al año.
Correct! Wrong!

_______ lavo los platos después de cocinar porque no me gusta una cocina desordenada.
Correct! Wrong!

Lavo mi auto _______.
Correct! Wrong!

Spanish Adverbs of Frequency
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Congratulations! You've mastered these Spanish adverbs and their placement rules!

 

As you can see, Spanish is a rich language when it comes to describing the frequency with which we do certain things.

While the actual frequency behind many of these adverbs (in Spanish and English) can be subjective, knowing how to use them will be incredibly useful in your everyday conversations.  

And One More Thing…

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