How to Answer How Often Do You Do This?

Proven Band 9 Model

IELTS speaking is very popular for asking you questions where you have to explain your preference in spare time. Although there is no such rule that best describes the way of answering IELTS questions, it is always better for you to know some language tips on How to Answer How Often Do You Do This?

When an IELTS examiner asks you such a question they really have no interest in the content of your answer but construct. They just want to know whether you can use the right grammatical structure.

First, let’s see some questions under this category

» How often do you read books?
How often do visitors come to your home?
How often do you go out to dinner with friends?

Remember this formula

When the examiner asks you How Often Do You Do This? type questions, you must:

  1. State the adverbs of frequency
  2. State the adverbs of the infrequency
  3. Explain the frequency in a native way

Click here for the secret behind Band 7 speaking

Step- 1: How Often Do You Do This?

State the adverbs of frequency

Remind yourself of the following groups of adverbs of frequency:-

Adverbs of frequency that go before the verb

I always read the Sunday papers.

Jonathan rarely goes to fast food restaurants.

I never read the Sunday papers.

Adverbs of frequency that can go before the verb or at the end of a sentence

I often listen to music.
I listen to music often.

l frequently go to bars with my friends.
I go to bars with my friends frequently.

Adverbs of frequency can go at the beginning of a sentence or before the verb or at
the end of a sentence

Usually, I play football on Sunday.
I usually play football on Sunday.
I play football on Sunday usually.

Sometimes I go to nightclubs.
I sometimes go to nightclubs.
I go to nightclubs sometimes.

Occasionally Lee reads a newspaper.
Lee occasionally reads a newspaper.
Lee reads a newspaper occasionally.

Step- 1: How Often Do You Do This?

State the adverbs of the infrequency

Let’s look at how the two IELTS candidates, Alice and David, use certain adverbs to describe things they rarely do.

I don’t often have the chance to take a break and spend time with my friends.
Once in a blue moon, I’ll have someone over for coffee, or I’ll go to a friend’s house and hang out…

Note: When you do not do the activity the examiner asks you about frequently, you should use a varied range of adverbs of infrequency.

Colloquial expressions

In addition to never, seldom, and rarely (see Language step l), you can also use the following colloquial expressions to sound more like a native:

every once in a while (= sometimes)
I play football on Sunday morning every once in a while,

from time to time (=occasionally)
I have friends over from time to time.

once in a blue moon (=rarely)
I drink alcohol once in a blue moon.

hardly ever (=almost never)
I hardly ever play video games.

Of all the expressions listed above, only hardly ever can come before the verb. 4 Others should come either at the beginning or at the end of a sentence.

Using don’t

It’s also often useful to form adverbs of infrequency by adding don’t before an adverb of frequency. Don’t can be used with the following adverbs:

I don’t always go to the university canteen to eat,

She doesn’t usually have guests for dinner.

He doesn’t often socialise with friends.

all the time
I don’t go to expensive restaurants with friends all the time, just occasionally.

Extra language point Explaining Frequency
Let’s take a look at how Binod and Devika explain why they usually or don’t usually do something.

Binod: I used to go out to dinner with my friends all the time, but I’m in my last year of university now and I’m really busy-I don’t often have the chance to take a break and spend time with my friends…

Devika: I prefer reading novels because they are a great way to relax and escape from daily life, but I also enjoy history and nature books because they help me learn more about the world we live in. From time to time I might read some poetry, but I have to be in the right mood.

Remember that the second thing you should say to the examiner when answering How often do you do X? type questions is why you do the action frequently or infrequently.

Practice using the following phrases:

I (adverb of (in)frequency) do (it) because
I always play basketball after work because I can keep fit and socialize with my colleagues.
I don’t often go to the cinema because it’s too expensive.
I can’t do (it) because I can’t socialize with my friends very often because I live in a completely different part of the city.
I would like to read more books but l can’t because I don’t have the time.
I (adverb of (infrequency) have the chance to do (it) because
I don’t usually have the chance to hang out with my old friends because I recently moved to
a new city.
I don’t often have the chance to read long novels because I am so busy at work.

  • “Every now and then.” (Sometimes, not often)
  • “Now and again.” (Sometimes, not often)
  • “Every other day/week.” (Every 2 days/weeks)
  • “Once in a while.” (Not often, quite rarely)
  • “Occasionally.” (Not often)
  • “Once in a blue moon.” (Very, very rarely)
  • “Every single day. (Emphasizes how it’s every day, without fail)
  • “Hardly ever.” 
  • “All the time.” 
  • “Most days/weekends.” 
  • “I’m in the habit of reading before bed.”
  • “Whenever I can.”
  • “Whenever I have a minute to myself.”

To conclude how to answer What do you like to do in your spare time?:-

Step 1: State Like & Enjoy
Step 2: Adopt the native English way of expressions.
Step 3: Elaborate your answer with Adjectives of Positive Feeling

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