Ogni quanto? Quante volte?

~the simple present tense & expressions of frequency~

As with English, the Italian simple present tense is often used to express repeat or habitual actions— what is generally or normally done.

Mangio la colazione.
I eat breakfast.

Non bevo il latte.
I don't drink milk. 

Often times, expressions of frequency are also used in these types of sentences:

Mangio la colazione ogni giorno.
I eat breakfast everyday.

Non bevo mai il latte.
I never drink milk. 

As the name suggests, these expressions not only tell you when but also how often.  They answer the following questions:

Ogni quanto? (How often?), Quante volte? (How many times?) by ab for

New to the present tense? Need to review conjugation and negation? You may want to start with...
  (1) How Italian verbs work(Intro to verbs & grammar terms)
  (2) Italian present tense: -ARE verbs
  (3) Italian present tense: -ERE verbs
  (4) Italian present tense: -IRE verbs
  (5) La negazione - Negation

In practicing and using the simple present tense, you'll find you frequently need an expression of frequency… so print pages 12 & 13 of the digital Beginner's Workbook and let's go over some of the most common ones, and see how they fit into sentences:


...giorno, settimana, mese, anno
(day, week, month, year)

Mangio la colazione ogni giorno.
I eat breakfast every day.

If you want to say a specific day, you can say it in one of three ways:

ogni + (day of week) es: ogni giovedì  (every Thursday) by ab for

Mangiamo la lasagna ogni domenica.
We eat lasagna every Sunday.


il/la + (day of week) = on (day of week) by ab for

Non mangiamo la carne il venerdì.
We do not eat meat on Fridays.

Mangiamo la lasagna la domenica.
We eat lasagna on Sundays.

Sunday is feminine: "la domenica"; all the other days of the week are masculine and take  "il"

tutti i (day of week) or tutte le domeniche [every (day of week)] by ab for

Mangiamo fuori casa tutti i venerdì.
We eat out every Friday.

Mangiamo la lasagna tutte le domeniche.
We eat lasagna every Sunday.

una volta, due volte… 
(once, twice...) giorno, alla settimana, al mese, all'anno
(a day, a week, a month, a year)

Mangio il gelato due volte alla settimana.
I eat ice cream two times a week.

Paghiamo le tasse una volta all'anno.
We pay taxes once a year.

Avverbi (adverbs)

always <---> never

Many actions fall somewhere on this continuum of frequency:

sempre, quasi sempre, spesso, di solito, a volte, quasi mai, mai: continuum of frequency by ab for

[This is a non-exhaustive list- there are other adverbs of frequency: normalmente (normally); ogni tanto (every once in awhile); raramente (rarely) etc. but the above continuum is a good place to start!]


Mangio sempre la colazione.
I always eat breakfast.

Notice how the adverb "sempre" is after the verb "mangio"?  That is the standard position for adverbs in an Italian sentence… another option is at the start of the sentence — but this depends a bit on the adverb itself and the emphasis.  

Sempre mangio la colazione.
I always eat breakfast.

quasi sempre
almost always

Mangi quasi sempre la stessa cosa.
You almost always eat the the same thing.


Lei mangia spesso lo yogurt.
She often eats yogurt.

di solito

-Cosa mangiate di solito?
What do you all usually eat?
-Di solito, mangiamo il pesce.
Usually, we eat fish.

By nature, the question puts emphasis on the adverb, so it sounds natural to respond with the adverb at the beginning...

a volte

A volte, mangiano fuori.
Sometimes, they eat out.

"A volte" as an adverb is often found at the beginning of the sentence.

quasi mai
almost never

Non mangio quasi mai il riso.
I almost never eat rice.

Remember, as discussed in La negazione - Negation Italian requires double negatives!  So if the adverb is negative, like "quasi mai" or "mai", you must also use the negating word "non" before the verb.  


Non mangi mai l'insalata.
You never eat salad.

Hai capito? (Did you understand?)  

If you haven't done so already, print pages 12 & 13 of the Ogni Quanto? Quante volte? Worksheet in Beginner's Italian Workbook* and fill-in both the "notes" section and the quick exercises that follow! 
*not available on mobile devices, please try on a regular computer! (Submit your answers by email for free corrections!)

ITALIAN: Workbooks Beginner's Workbook, Part One, from Via Optimae,

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Happy Studying!

Alex on

All lessons in the Beginner's Italian series:
  (1) How Italian verbs work(Intro to verbs & grammar terms)
  (4) Italian present tense: -IRE verbs — CURRENT PAGE
  (5) La negazione - Negation
  (6) Ogni quanto? Quante volte? (Adverbs of frequency)
  (7) C'è & Ci sono (There is & There are)

 Potrebbe pure interessarti….
ITALIAN: The Basics Series, starting with:
(01) Indefinite Articles (How to say "A/AN" in Italian

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Frasi celebri su Via Optimae

Frasi celebri su Via Optimae
Acque del sud (To Have and Have Not) original: "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and… blow."