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When talking about habits the position of adverbs is different, but if I'm not talking about habits, can I use "often" in each position in my sentences and does each of them have a different meaning in both negative and positive sentences?

  1. "Often, I don't see seagulls in my neighborhood."

  2. "I often don't see seagulls in my neighborhood."

  3. "I don't see seagulls in my neighborhood often."

  4. "I don't often see seagulls in my neighborhood."

Positive statements

  1. "I often see seaguls in my neighborhood."

  2. "I see seaguls in my neighborhood often."

  3. "Often, I see seaguls in my neighborhood."

1 Answer 1

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The same applies here as to the sentences in your other questions about often.

I don't often = I seldom do.

I often don't = On many occasions I don't.

(4) and (5) are by far the most natural.

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  • in that thread two constructions had the meaning "on many occasions I don't" but in these sentences only sentence #2. Previous discussion: 1."Often, I don't read the newspaper." 2. "I often don't read the newspaper." (1) and (2) could mean 'I take a newspaper but often don't get the chance to read it'. Why is it so? Jun 29, 2022 at 7:10
  • Here too both refer to specific occasions: Often I don't feel hungry. I often don't feel hungry. But in this thread about seagulls only @2? Jun 29, 2022 at 7:16
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    I didn't mean to say that your sentence (1) here doesn't suggest that meaning too. I was making the distinction between 'often before don't' and 'don't before often'. Jun 29, 2022 at 7:50
  • thank you! I understand now. Jun 29, 2022 at 16:13

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