Always - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online


from English Grammar Today

Always is an adverb.

Always: meaning

Always can mean ‘on every occasion’, ‘forever’ or ‘very frequently’. In these meanings we use it with simple tense forms:

She always brings me flowers when she comes to visit.

I will always love you.

Kenneth has always been called Kenny by his family.

Always with continuous verb forms

We can use always with continuous verb forms to refer to regular events or states, especially ones which are problematic or which we do not like or want:

She’s always complaining about her job. Why doesn’t she get a new one?

Teenagers were always causing trouble at the shopping centre, stealing things, breaking windows, that sort of thing.

The kids are always asking for sweets, but they’re not good for them.

Always: position

We most commonly use always in mid position, between the subject and main verb, after the modal verb or first auxiliary verb, or after main verb be:

He always wears a hat. (between subject and main verb)

I’ve always wanted an open-top sports car. (after first auxiliary verb)

I envy you. You’ll always be happy! (after the modal verb)

She’s always late for class. (after main verb be)

We don’t use always at the beginning of a statement or question:

She always cooks wonderful meals.

Not: Always she cooks wonderful meals.

Do you always go camping for your summer holidays?

Not: Always do you go camping


Always often comes first in a command (imperative):

Always keep your PIN number in a safe place and do not give it to anyone else.

Always arrive early for a job interview.

Always with can and could

We often use always with can and could to talk about possible solutions to problems:

If the hotels are all full, you can always stay with us.

If I needed it, I could always borrow money from my father.

As always

We use as always to talk about one event which is seen as typical:

As always, she made us feel very welcome in her home.

[at the end of an email, thanking someone for a visit]

It was nice, as always, to see you last week.

Always, for good or for ever?

When we talk about things which will be permanent, we normally use for good, or, more formally, for ever (sometimes written as forever). We do not normally say for always:

She just wants to work in Australia for a year. She doesn’t want to move there for good.

I will remember this moment for ever. (more formal)

Always or all the time?

All the time also means ‘very often’ or ‘continually’ and is commonly used to refer to things that people do not like or do not want to happen. We don’t use all the time in mid position:

My guitar tutor criticises me all the time. She thinks I’m lazy.

Not: My guitar tutor all the time criticises me.

We have this kind of problem all the time.

We don’t use all the time before a command (imperative):

Always take extra care when driving near a school.

Not: All the time take extra care

(“Always” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press.)
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