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How long – how often

Average: 3.8 (33 votes)

For – since

We use for to say how long
How long have you been waiting? Oh not long. Just for a few minutes.
They lived in Spain for nearly ten years.
We use since to say when something started.
I’ve worked here for nine years – I’ve worked here since 2004


From ...to/until are used to say when something starts and finishes:
The lessons are from Monday to Thursday.
We will be away from the 13th to the 20th of September.

How often

The most common adverbials of frequency are: always, never, normally, occasionally, often, rarely, seldom, sometimes, and usually.

We usually put adverbials of frequency in front of the main verb:
I often spend the weekends at home.
I have never had so much fun.
But they usually come after the verb to be:
He was always tired after work.
She was never late.

A lot

The adverbial a lot means 'often' or 'frequently'. It is placed at the end of the clause.
We go to the cinema a lot.
But it is before another time adverbial.
We go to the cinema a lot at the weekend.


We use much with a negative to mean 'not often'.
We don't go out much during the week.

How often – ever

We use how often or ever to ask about questions of frecuency. How often comes at the beginning of the clause.
How often do you go out?
Ever comes before the main verb.
Do you ever work late?
Have you ever been to Japan?

For longer frequency phrases we usually use them at the end of a clause.
We go to the cinema twice a week.
She goes to her yoga classes every day.

Lesson by Tristan, teacher at EC Malta English school

Now choose the correct adverbial/preposition for the following:

  • 1. I’ve been trying to call you _ the last two hours.

  • 2. He goes out to the pub _ .

  • 3. The night bus works _ .

  • 4. I haven’t seen her _ three months.

  • 5. Sarah is _ very punctual. Something must have happened to her.

  • 6. Have you _ seen a hurricane?

  • 7. How _ do you go to the gym?

  • 8. We seem to eat at Italian restaurants _ .