How to use 'often'

English is filled with various adverbs that add depth to our sentences. One such versatile adverb is often. In this lesson,  we will explore how to effectively use the adverb "often" in our everyday conversations and writings. Understanding the usage of "often" will help you express frequency and add nuance to your language skills.


Often is an adverb meaning 'many times'. If we use "often" in a sentence, it shows that an action or event happens many times or regularly.

  • She often helps her friends with their homework.
  • It often rains in this city during the winter months.


We usually put "often" before the main verb in a sentence. However, there can be variations based on the sentence structure and emphasis. 

Here are the most common positions for "often":

1. Before the main verb:

  • We often meet up for a drink after work.

2. After the verb "to be":

  • She is often late for family gatherings.

3. After an auxiliary verb such as "do" or "have":

  • I've often wondered what happened to her.

4. At the beginning of a sentence for emphasis:

  • Often I find inspiration in nature for my work.

5. At the end of a sentence:

  • Do you go grocery shopping often?

How to pronounce "often"

"Often" has two accepted pronunciations. Some people pronounce it with the "t" sound, like "off-ten", while others omit the "t" and say "off-en". If you're wondering which one to use, my advice is to listen to native speakers around you and try to imitate their pronunciation. Both variations are correct, so don't worry too much about it.

How often?

We use "how often" to ask about the frequency of something.

  • How often do you go to the gym to exercise?
  • How often does he water his plants in the garden?

Adverbs of degree

The adverbs of degree "very" and "quite" can be used in combination with "often" to provide additional information about the frequency of an action or event.

  • She very often cooks dinner for her friends.
  • They travel to different cities quite often.

Adverbs of frequency: Often