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I know it's odd but I've been wondering if we can use adverbs of frequency with other expressions like once a week or twice a month. Examples:

I often go swimming twice a month.

I hardly ever go shopping every day.

what about these situations:

I take a shower every day

oh, really. I hardly ever take a shower every day ( I want to say that there are conditions that I take a shower every day but It hardly ever happens)

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  • It makes about as much sense as I often go swimming rarely. You'd need a very rare context: I've hardly ever gone shopping every day for an entire week.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:24
  • @TRomano I've seen this. -How often do you have your hair cut? – Usually once a month, but sometimes twice a month.
    – Masih K
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:26
  • That's not the same thing as your question. How often? means How frequently? The answer could be "never". often alone means frequently.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:27
  • "I usually don't shop every day." "I usually don't shower every day." "Rarely" can replace "usually don't." Note that "shop" and "shower" are verbs that can stand on their own, if you prefer. Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 19:56
  • @Mark Hubbard: Idiomatic would be "I don't usually shower every day", not "I usually don't shower every day".
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:15

1 Answer 1

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Yes, it's fine to create expressions like that, or at least it's perfectly grammatical. However, I think it's not that common in any language, because it can be confusing.

Once in a while it makes sense:

If you are paid bi-weekly (once every two weeks), you receive two paychecks each month. However, twice a year, you receive a paycheck three times each month.

There are better ways to say this, of course, but this sentence should still be understandable.

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  • I've found ''We usually go swimming twice a month'' in the link below. It's not common? learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/grammar-vocabulary/…
    – Masih K
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:37
  • It seems an awkward way to say it, but it's understandable.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 17:42
  • Thank you, Andrew. How can I say this? I want to say '' I go shopping twice a week but there are weeks that I don't go shopping at all''. I put often to convey my point but that makes it awkward. what should I say?
    – Masih K
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 18:33
  • "Most of the time I go shopping twice a week." This implies that there are weeks when you don't. If it's important enough you can be specific, "occasionally I shop once per week, and rarely not at all."
    – Andrew
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 18:39
  • Usually is not the same thing as often, Masih K.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:13

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