Hello! My name is Maria Lisette and I am teaching English as a second language (ESL) here in Mexico. I just started training at a new school here and found something odd in one of their manuals. It is a unit for frequency adverbs, but my problem is with the infinitive "to do". Can somebody tell me if I am correct or is the manual from the school correct? The manual says: "How often does he do exercise?" Shouldn't it be, "How often does he exercise?" OR "How often does he do exercises?" ?? Also, the answer they printed was: "He doesn't do exercise very often." Shouldn't it be, "He doesn't exercise very often." OR "He doesn't do exercises very often." ???

This just sounded very weird to me and I have been unable thus far to find the answer to this question in any of my texts. Any help would be MUCH appreciated. I would also appreciate a reference to a grammar text as well, in case I am right and want to show the director. If they are correct, then fine; but if *I* am right then we DON'T want to teach these people the wrong structure! Thanks in advance! Take care, Maria Lisette (from Georgia, USA) Emotion: smile
Hi Maria,

In AmE, it would be stated as "How often does he exercise?" or "How often does he do exercises?" (with my preference being the former).

I find it really strange phrasing as well. We exercise. We do exercises. We don't 'do' exercise.

Hmmm, now I'm thinking about it we do in some contexts. But the 'do' is attached to the pronoun, not exercise. If someone said to you 'You don't exercise at all!' then you might reply I do exercise. But that is just to make 'I exercise' more emphatic. It's a different context to the original one, so I still think that is incorrect.

You just don't get native speakers saying either How often does he do exercise?" or "He doesn't do exercise very often
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
I think the possible explanation for this question is the following:

  • The original sentence is: “He often does exercise”.
  • Also,we should consider that “exercise” here is noun.
  • Therefore, and to make a question form this sentence we should use “Does “because of “He “.
  • Then the question would be: “Does he often do exercise”.

  • Thus, in my view, the question in the manual is correct.

    Please accept my regards.

 Phoenix PR's reply was promoted to an answer.
How often does he do exercise? Exercise is a noun here and it is uncountable WHEN considering physical activities that you do in order to stay healthy and become stronger. For example:

Try to fit some regular exercise into your daily routine.

Working in an office, I don't get much exercise.

SO it's correct
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
 nona the brit's reply was promoted to an answer.
I have been editing Esl text and find this very problem you speak of. I find the usage of 'wrong structures' difficult to use as it's not necessarily wrong according to the dictionary, but your expressions that you suggest are 'right' are the ones commonly used.

I just say it's not the proper usage although it's possible.

How does he often exercise?

Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.

How does he often exercise?

It's possible, but it's rather awkward.


How does he often exercise?

It would be better to use often as the second word. How often does he exercise?