enter image description hereCan never ever be called an adverb of time or is it always frequency? I found online that adverbs of time can express when, how long or how often.

I never play volleyball. This is how often I play volleyball.

But "I'll never hurt" you sounds like when instead of how often.

Also, if what I read is right frequency adverbs are time adverbs. If anything, a word or phrase expressing when would be classified as a time adverb while a word or phrase expressing how often would be classified as a frequency adverb.


I'll never hurt you. Never is an adverb of time.

I never did anything in your detriment. Never is also an adverb of time.

I attached a picture of the question on a test that originated this question.

The full sentence on this test is

Then I never speak to this person about snakes, rocks and forests.

The answer to this question is frequency in my opinion. But I wondered if time is possible is some other context.

  • 3
    Does it matter? What would you do, say, or think differently depending on the answer? Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 20:52
  • Ask Google the same question. I think you'll get a clear answer
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 23:16
  • @gotube, to be clear, I was asking the OP what their position was, both to encourage their own research and to help them figure it out for themselves. Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 3:01
  • @PaulTanenbaum I was talking to the OP, which is why I didn't tag you. Someone with 1000+ rep here should know enough to at least Google the question first.
    – gotube
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 4:39

1 Answer 1


Why do you think that the word in "I'll never hurt you" is not an adverb of frequency? The opposite is "always", and that isn't an adverb of time, either - both are considered adverbs of frequency.

Adverbs of time can also indicate how often something occurs but are more specific (eg "daily"). Adverbs of frequency are not as specific (eg "often") so I can see why you might think 'never', which is absolute, is not like the rest. Yet, we may still use "never" even when there are known exceptions, for example "he usually never does that".

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