Curtis Honeycutt | Grammar guy: Apply sunscreen - early and often
Did you know that redheaded people only make up 1 to 2 percent of the world's population? There's a reason we are so scarce: the sun. I'm that person who can get a sunburn on a cloudy day. People have been known to get secondhand sunburns by just standing near me outside on a sunny day. I'm so white, I get a moonburn. I'm like a vampire or something — I step out into the light of day and basically just burst into flames. This is why I always apply sunscreen; I apply it early and often. If you noticed, I used a few adverbs just now (always, early, often). Not only did I employ a handful of adverbs, but I used a handful of adverbs of frequency. Adverbs of frequency describe how often something happens. They include always, usually, sometimes, never, frequently, often, then and weekly. And, I have more good news for you: Adverbs of frequency come with their own set of rules.
When your sentence has more than one verb, use your adverb of frequency before the primary verb. Here's an example: "I have often received a sunburn during the month of November." Here, we sandwiched our adverb of frequency (often) between the bread slices of our sentence's two verbs (have and received).
If your sentence contains only one verb, place your adverb of frequency after your subject and before your verb. "Curtis never tans." "He always wears a swim shirt to the pool."
We use adverbs of frequency to signify things that happen on a routine basis. Because of this, we usually employ these adverbs with the present simple tense.
If you want to "throw shade," as the youths say, when you're using an adverb of frequency in the negative while forming a question, place your adverb before your primary verb. Are you normally so angry, or are you just like this on days that end in "-ay"?
Most of the time, place definite adverbs of frequency (including finally, last week, today, monthly and already) either at the beginning or at the end of your sentence. When the adverb is the focus of your sentence, save it for the end: "I will do the laundry tomorrow." When it's not the emphasis of your sentence, use a definite adverb of frequency at the beginning: "Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever do laundry again."
Practicing good grammar — much like applying sunscreen — is a fantastic life decision. I encourage you to do it early and often.
Curtis Honeycutt is an award-winning syndicated humor columnist. Connect with him on Twitter (@curtishoneycutt) or at curtishoneycutt.com.
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