Is this dialogue idiomatic:

-- How do you often cook potatoes?
-- Often I just bake them.

  • Source of text please. What is your specific concern about it? Why do you doubt that it is idiomatic What would you suggest as a possible fix? Please see the How to Ask.
    – James K
    Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 9:46
  • 1
    It's grammatical but almost a non-sequitur. It's not an answer to the question, it's an oblique shift of subject. Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


No. It's grammatical and understandable, but not idiomatic.

In the question, "Often" is not usually used in that way. We can ask "How often", but when the frequency is not the focus, we don't usually say "often". We can say "always", "sometimes" or "usually", but not "often", "frequently" or "rarely". I have no explanation for this.

In the answer, "Often" is more acceptable. If the question were just "How do you cook potatoes", then I would find "often" fairly natural in the answer, making the point that I do not always bake them. I think I'd probably say "usually", though.

  • Yes - "How do you usually cook potatoes?" (What is the method you most commonly use?) Commented Apr 19, 2023 at 13:00

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