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  1. #1
    shabushabu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    Hello,

    I'm not sure about the placement of frequency adverbs in negative statements with be verbs; for example: I am not usually late. Or, I usually am not late.

    I thought frequency adverbs are after 'be verbs', no matter in an affirmative sentnce or a negative sentence. But, a grammar book says that most frequency adverbs come before be+not.

    Can you help me?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    Grammar books are sometimes out-dated. You can use either, unlike Chinese: I often am late. OR I am often late. In the negative, we ususally place the adverb as follows: I am not often late. You can say "Often, I am not late" but this is rather comical, as it sounds like you're only on time 51% of the time.

  3. #3
    shabushabu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    Hello,
    Many thanks for your reply. I have another question. Are the possible snswers of the question all correct?
    A: Do you often eat outside?
    B: Yes, I do./ Yes, I often do.
    No, I don't./ No, I often don't./ No, I never do.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by shabushabu; 19-Apr-2009 at 16:30.

  4. #4
    konungursvia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    All are okay except "No I often don't" as frequently not doing something is comical, as in Douglas Adams' works, their logical extension being "I always don't" instead of never do.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    You could have 'No, I don't often', though.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    I agree, but I feel this is an abbreviation of "No, I don't often... do that."

  7. #7
    shabushabu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    The rule in my English textbook says:
    1. frequency adverbs goes before 'be verbs' or 'verbs' in short answers:
    A: Are you usually hungry?
    B: Yes./ Yes, I am. / Yes, I usually am.(not 'I am usually' here)

    A: Do you often go swimming after school?
    B: yes./ Yes, I do./ Yes, I often do.

    But the book doesn't say much about the negative short answers...it just says 'No, I'm not./ No, I never am.' are ok for the first example above; and 'No, I don't./ No, I never do.' for the second example.

    I'm confused since I don't know whether the rule for the positive short answers can be used for the negative short answers (frequency adverbs goes before 'be verbs' or 'verbs' in short answers)...
    For example:
    A: Are you usually hungry?
    B: No, I usually am not.

    A: Do you often go swimming after school?
    B: No, I often don't.

    According to your explanations, it seems it's not good to use the positive frequency adverbs (always, usually, often, and sometimes..) in negative short answers, but the negative adverbs (seldom, never).
    Is it what you mean?
    Last edited by shabushabu; 20-Apr-2009 at 06:25.

  8. #8
    shabushabu is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Frequency adverbs in negative statements

    The rule in my English textbook says:
    1. frequency adverbs goes before 'be verbs' or 'verbs' in short answers:
    A: Are you usually hungry?
    B: Yes./ Yes, I am. / Yes, I usually am.(not 'I am usually' here)

    A: Do you often go swimming after school?
    B: yes./ Yes, I do./ Yes, I often do.

    But the book doesn't say much about the negative short answers...it just says 'No, I'm not./ No, I never am.' are ok for the first example above; and 'No, I don't./ No, I never do.' for the second example.

    I'm confused since I don't know whether the rule for the positive short answers can be used for the negative short answers (frequency adverbs goes before 'be verbs' or 'verbs' in short answers)...
    For example:
    A: Are you usually hungry?
    B: No, I usually am not.

    A: Do you often go swimming after school?
    B: No, I often don't.

    According to your explanations, it seems it's not good to use the positive frequency adverbs (always, usually, often, and sometimes..) in negative short answers, but the negative adverbs (seldom, never).
    Is it what you mean?

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