Tuesday, September 21, 2010

How to talk about your daily routine.

We should use Present Simple.
We should use either an adverb of frequency or a time adverbial to indicate how often we do an activity.

Some examples of adverbs of frequency are:
always - usually - often - sometimes - hardly ever - never, and words like:generally, normally and basically.

The position of adverbs of frequency in a sentence.
1.- Some adverbs may come at the beginning or at the end of your sentences, but in general they come before the verb, for example: "I usually go home after work".
2.- When you are using verb "to be", then the verb comes first, like in the following sentence: "My brother is often late for school".
3.- Examples: "I never go to the cinema", "Sally sometimes goes shopping after class", or "Sometimes Sally goes shopping after class", or even "Sally goes shopping after class sometimes".

Time adverbials are basically expressions which answer the question "when". Some good examples of time adverbials are:
every day - every week - twice a day - twice a week - twice a month - once a day - once a week

Words like after and before are also frequently used to talk about time. Check out the following phrases:
after lunch - before dinner - after work - before I go to the gym - after my wife gets home

As you can see, we can use words like every, twice, once, or even phrases like three times, four times and so on combined with words like day, week, month to form a time adverbial. These expressions normally come at the end of a sentence. For example:
Peter goes to the supermarket twice a week, Peter goes to the supermarket after work twice a week, Every day Mary takes her children to school by car, Every day Mary takes her children to school by car after lunch.

There are also some other very common expressions used to express frequency or routine, such as: all the time - from time to time - every once in a while - every other day. Example: I check my e-mail all the time, from time to time me and my wife go to the beach together.

Also, it's important to say that sometimes we combine adverbs of frequency and time adverbials in the same sentence to form even more complex sentences. Check out these examples: I usually go to a restaurant every day, Jack always does his homework before going to bed.

Finally, you can link your sentences with connectors so as to set the chronological order of events. Some good examples of connectors that can help you do that are:
Then - after that - later on - while - as soon as - when

Adverbs of frequency usually come before the verb, unless the verb you are using is verb "be" and time adverbials usually come either at the beginning or at the end of a sentence.

Just a quick recap... When we talk about routine we should use Present Simple combined with adverbs of frequency and time adverbials or both. Also, remember to link your sentences with connectors to make them sound more natural.

A Teacher's Daily routine.
"Well, during the week I usually get up early, get dressed and leave home. I'm an English teacher and in the morning I teach private classes in my office. I usually teach 3 or 4 classes in the morning. Then, at lunchtime, I normally go home to eat something. After that I take my 2-year old son to the crèche and go back to my office. As soon as I get back to the office I check my e-mails and prepare my next classes. In the afternoon I generally teach one class in my office, and after that I drive to Canoas where I teach English in-company four times a week. Basically every day, but Friday. I leave Canoas at 7:00 pm and drive back to Porto Alegre where I live to pick up my son at the crèche. We finally get back home at about 8:15. Then, in the evening, I usually have a shower and after that I talk to my wife while she makes dinner. We have dinner together and then either I watch TV with my family or I go to my home office where I use the Internet to read or to prepare materials or even to talk to my friends."

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