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Present Simple – Regular actions / routine

An introduction to the Present Simple (Lesson 1)

What do you do every day?

Routine

These things make up your everyday routine. When we talk about these things, and other things that we do more than once, we use the Present Simple.

Now read the text below. What examples of routine actions can you find?

My Simple Life

I get up at about 7:30 and have a quick shower. I usually make my dinner to take to work, but sometimes I can’t get out of bed! At work, I often stay late to do a bit more, but I sometimes feel really tired and then I go home at about 3 o’clock. I always eat my tea late and it ALWAYS contains meat! Later, I usually work out and I occasionally eat again afterwards. I rarely do anything on week nights (except play Sport) but I’m often in bed quite late because I like to do a lot of non-work things to relax after a long day’s teaching!

How many routine actions did you find? Take another look…

I get up at about 7:30 and have a quick shower. I usually make my dinner to take to work, but sometimes I can’t get out of bed! At work, I often stay late to do a bit more, but I sometimes feel really tired and then I go home at about 3 o’clock. I always eat my tea late and it ALWAYS contains meat! Later, I usually work out and I occasionally eat again afterwards. I rarely do anything on week nights (except play Sport) but I’m often in bed quite late because I  do a lot of non-work things to relax after a long day’s teaching!

The examples all use the Present Simple. You make this by using Subject (I, you, he, she, it, we, they) + verb 1 (remember to +s for he/she/it – I work –> He works / I read –> He reads / I go –> She goes

There is some extra information. Can you find the words that give us information about how often I do these things? How many are in the picture below? These are called adverbs.

Adverbs of Frequency

So, if I say always, this is a routine that never changes! For example: I always have a shower in the morning. Look at how the % information comes after the subject and before the verb. Can you make a list from my text similar to the picture above?

Answer

I get up / have a quick shower / do a lot of non-work things (like always – but with no adverb)
I always eat my tea late / it ALWAYS contains meat (100%)
I usually eat my dinner / I usually work out (80%)
I often stay late / I’m often in bed quite late (70%)
Sometimes I can’t get out of bed / I sometimes feel really tired (50%)
I occasionally eat again (30%)
I rarely do anything (10%)

So, we can see that I work out more often (80%) than I eat again (30%).

Can you complete these sentences to make them true for you?

1. I ___________ go to the cinema.

2. I ___________ go shopping.

3. I ___________ eat vegetables at mealtimes.

4. I ___________ visit my friends’ houses.

5. I ___________ phone / Skype my family.

Now write a paragraph about your routine! Use my example to help you.

More Information (Lesson 2)

1. How can I use don’t ?

Do you say “I don’t usually eat breakfast before work” or “I usually don’t eat breakfast before work”?

Good news! You can say both! Take a look at the picture below. If you see (don’t), you can use it there in a sentence.

I (don’t) always eat breakfast beforework
I (don’t) usually (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I (don’t) often (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I sometimes (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I occasionally (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I rarely (don’t) eat breakfast before work
I never eat breakfast before work –> use positive and always!

So you see, in general, more than 50% = don’t before adverb. Less than 50% = don’t after adverb.

How can I make questions?

Example: Do you usually go to the cinema at weekends? Do you always play Football on Mondays?

So, adverb before verb, but after subject.

cinema

How often do you….?

If you want to say specifically how often you do something, then don’t use an adverb. Try one of these phrases instead:

I go to the cinema once a week. –> Once =  one time
She eats meat at dinner twice a month. –> Twice = two times 
They play Football every month. –> Every month = once a month
We see my family three times a year. 

You’re done! Now you can:

  • Ask questions about people’s routines
  • Talk about frequency of actions
  • Write a paragraph about your daily routines

Now try this practice exercise to revise word order!

Present Simple Exercises

Simon

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