Do the two terms "all the time" and "always" give the same meaning? I am asking about them as I might replace "all the time" with "always" in a survey frequency scale. For a non-native speaker, I am not sure if they give the same meaning and can safely be used interchangeably?
"All the time" and "always" are strongly related, but are used in different ways and have slightly different meanings.
Usage: "All the time" is usually placed at the end of the sentence, and "always" precedes the verb. For example:
I always eat baked beans.
I eat baked beans all the time.
"I eat baked beans always" sounds unnatural, and "I all the time eat baked beans" is incorrect English.
Meaning: These imply slightly different things, for example:
Brian always watches action movies.
I would assume from this that when Brian watches movies, he chooses to watch action movies. It doesn't necessarily mean that Brian watches movies very often, but when he does he chooses action-heavy ones.
Brian watches action movies all the time.
This implies that Brian spends a lot of his time watching action movies. There might be other types of movie that he also watches.