How to Talk about your Daily Routine in English

Talking about your daily routine in English.

This is a very common task that you might be asked to talk about in the IELTS speaking test. It could also happen in an interview for school or college — or sometimes a job interview.

But it is a very common topic that could take place in an English conversation. You may not have a conversation about your entire daily schedule, but you might have to talk about a small part of your day and what you do.

For many English students, this seems to present something of a problem. Someone asks them what they do every day and they are stumped.

Why should this be so?

After all, you are talking about yourself and the things you do every day. It should be easy.

In this guide, I will show you what you need to say, the order in which to say it and what English grammar and vocabulary you will need.

Are you ready?

Let’s get into it.

 

A Simple Guide on English Grammar

 

I know you all hate to study English grammar, but we do need to look at some rules when talking about your daily schedule.

Don’t worry these are very simple.

 

The Only Verb Tense You Will Ever Need

When talking about your daily routine you will only need to use one verb tense. And that is…

SIMPLE PRESENT

This is the most basic and easiest of English verb tenses and it is the only one you will need when talking about the things you do every day.

I am sure you know how to use it but let’s just recap.

You just take the subject — in the case of your daily schedule that would be ‘I’ — and then the verb in its basic form.

For example:

I go

I read

I eat

I see

I talk

I listen

I study

You might need to use other subjects when talking about your parents, your friends, your teachers or colleagues. In which case, be careful when using the subjects he, she and it.

He goes

She reads

He eats

She sees

He talks

She listens

It goes

It stops

That is pretty much all you need in terms of verb tenses. You might need to express negatives, in which case you would say:

I don’t go

He doesn’t eat

She doesn’t listen

I don’t talk

I don’t stay

It’s pretty simple — hence, simple present!

 

Watch Out For Adverbs

You will also need to use adverbs to express time. Such as:

Always

Never

Sometimes

Usually

These are the most common ones, but you could also use other adverbs:

Before

Later

After

Then

First

Next

Generally

So for example, you might say:

I always go to school at 7am

I never get up early at the weekend

My dad sometimes drives me to school

I usually meet my friends at the weekend

I do my homework before dinner

I do my maths homework first, then my English homework

I generally get home around six pm

 

Now You Try!

Using all the adverbs above, make sentences of your own about your daily schedule. Talk about things you do every day.

Try to use all the adverbs above. Make different sentences for each adverb.

This is great practice for talking about your daily schedule.

 

Put Everything In Order

It is best to think about what you do every day in a logical sequence. Don’t jump from one part of the day to the next as it is confusing to the listener — and for you.

You can divide the days into sections — then you only have to talk about that one section.

The sections could be:

Morning

Noon

Afternoon

Evening

Night

If you really wanted to be more detailed, you could split the mornings into three sections:

Morning at home

Morning going to school/work

Morning at work

And you could do the same with the afternoons too:

Afternoon at school/work

Afternoon coming home

But when you arrive back home, maybe we can refer to that as the evening.

Now let’s look at each of these time segments throughout the day in more detail. The kind of things we can say about the things we do in each part.

 

Morning Routine

Think about what you do every morning when you wake up. Many of us have the same routine before leaving the house to go to school or work.

For example:

Wake up

Brush teeth

Wash face/shower

Get dressed

Eat breakfast

Drink tea/coffee

Say good morning to family/wife/roommates

Read the news/catch up with the news

Leave the house

Let me show you an example of someone talking about their morning routine.

I usually wake up around six-thirty. My alarm goes off and I turn it off and sleep for another ten minutes. Then the alarm goes off a second time and I have to get up.

I go to the bathroom and brush my teeth and wash my face. I don’t shower in the morning as I usually take a shower in the evening before I go to bed.

Then I go back to my bedroom and get dressed. I leave my school uniform hanging in front of my wardrobe so I can put my clothes on easily every day.

After that, I go to the kitchen and have breakfast.

My mum usually makes breakfast — just something simple like an egg and some bread. I don’t like to drink coffee so I have some orange juice.

I chat with my mum and dad during breakfast. But my dad doesn’t talk too much. He likes to catch up on the news on his phone. But he always says ‘nothing but bad news’ so I don’t know why he reads it.

It gets to just after seven am and I have to leave to go to school.

I say goodbye to my mum and dad, give my mum a kiss and I leave the house.

My school is very near where I live so I usually walk to school. If it’s raining, my dad takes me to school but he always complains about it!

I get to school around 7:30 and meet up with my friends in the usual place. We talk about things we like — music, some TV shows and other stuff. Then we go to the first class.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

Usually wake up

Around six-thirty

Go to the bathroom

Brush my teeth

Wash my face

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your morning routine.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your morning routine.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your morning routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

On The Way To School/Work Routine

Now you need to think about your journey every day to school or work.

  • How do you get there?
  • What do you do on the way there?
  • Do you meet anyone on the way and talk to them?

These are some useful phrases you might need:

Walk to the bus stop/school/ the subway station/work

Take the bus to school/work

Take the subway to school/work

Wait for the bus/subway

Meet my friend at the bus stop/subway station/on the way

Buy some snacks at the shop

Talk to my friend

Now let’s look at an example of someone talking about their morning routine as they make their way to work.

I walk to the subway station — it usually takes about fifteen minutes. On the way there, I buy some snacks. I find I get a little hungry around ten-thirty or so and want to eat something.

I get to the subway and it is usually crowded with people. I go to the end of the platform and wait for the train there as there are usually fewer people.

I get on the train and if I am lucky I can get a seat, but usually, it is standing room only. Rush hour is always very busy.

It takes me thirty minutes to get to work by subway so I try to read something on the way. I like to read novels, but I also like to read books about how to work more effectively. I think reading on the subway is a good use of my time.

I get to my stop and I get out of the station. My office is only about five minutes from the subway station. On the way, I sometimes bump into people I know or work with and we have a chat on the way to the office.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

Walk to the subway station

Usually takes fifteen minutes

Buy some snacks

Get to the subway station

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your routine as you make your way to school or work.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your routine as you go to school or work.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

Morning at Work/School Routine

So now you are at work or school. The day of studying or working begins.

  • What do you do in the morning?
  • What is the first thing you do at school or at work?
  • Do you do the same thing every morning at work/school? Or is there some variety?

Let’s look at some phrases you might need to use:

The first class begins at…

Check emails first thing…

Go to registration class at…

Get some coffee…

Think of any other phrases you might need to use in this part of the day.

We can now look at an example of a person talking about their morning routine at university.

If it’s a Monday, I have to be at college by nine am. I have a lecture every Monday morning.

But the rest of the week, I don’t have classes until 9:30 or sometimes 10:00. So I can lie in for a bit on those days.

I usually go to the student canteen first and meet my two friends there. We might have time for a cup of coffee but if not we go straight to the lecture. It lasts for an hour and then we go to the canteen and drink something and chat.

Some days are busier than others. So on some days, I have many classes to go to. For example, this semester, Wednesday is the busiest day of the week. I have classes all through the morning with no breaks. I don’t stop until midday. I feel exhausted and I am ready for lunch and a rest.

But other days are not so busy. Friday is a really relaxed day. I have my first class at 10:00 and that finishes at 10:50. Then I don’t have any other classes in the morning.

I go to the canteen — students spend a lot of time in the canteen! — and then I go to the library and try to work on any assignments or essays I have to do.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

Have to be at college

Have a lecture

Don’t have classes

Might have time for a cup of coffee

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your morning routine at school or work.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your morning routine at school or work.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your morning routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

Noon Routine

Most people have lunch at noon. I imagine you also have lunch. But do you do this every lunchtime? Or maybe, if it is a nice day, you like to go outside and walk around for some exercise?

Some people like to do some shopping or run some errands at lunchtime as it is the only time they have to do these things.

These might be the kind of phrases or sentence structure you might need:

Eat lunch at

Go to the usual place

Eat with colleagues

Go to the bank

Pay some bills

Now let’s look at someone talking about their routine and the things they do at noon.

In my school, we always have lunch at the same time — 11:45. The last class ends for the morning and all the students rush to the canteen for lunch. It’s always crowded and a bit crazy as all the students try to get their lunch at the same time.

I sit at the same table as my friends. We are in the same class together. None of us likes the school lunch. It never tastes nice and we often have the same meals every week — pork on Monday, chicken on Tuesday, fish on Friday — so boring!

After lunch, if it’s a nice day we stay outside and sit on one of the benches and chat about everything. The boys like to play football but all of us girls like to talk about things together.

If it’s raining, we go back to our class and sit there and talk.

Sometimes we might have a lot of school work to do and we go to the library to get it done. But that is not very common!

Most of the time we prefer to relax.

Note: Read through the above extract two or three times. Read it out loud. What does the speaker tell us that they actually do every lunchtime?

To be honest, it is not a lot. They finish their last class for the morning, they eat lunch and then they sit around talking with their friends.

And this is the problem that many English students have. They might simplify all of the above and just say:

I finish my morning classes, then I have lunch, then I talk to my friends.

This is not good enough! Look at all the details the speaker provides above. That is what you need to think about when talking about your daily life and routine.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

Always have lunch at the same time

All the students rush to the canteen

It never tastes nice

The boys like to play football

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your noon-time routine.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your noon-time routine.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your noon-time routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

Afternoon at Work/School Routine

Afternoons at work or school could be almost the same as the mornings. But if your schedule has any differences then, of course, you should talk about that.

For those of you that have a near-identical schedule to the morning, it may be a little difficult to talk about. You can’t just say something simple like — same as the morning. You have to try to find something different in it.

These phrases might be useful:

Last class ends at…

I finish work at…

Feel a little tired in the afternoon…

Have a snack around three pm…

I stare at the clock…

Let’s look at something that a school student might say about their afternoon schedule:

The first class in the afternoon begins at 1:30pm. By this time, most of the students feel kind of tired. And we know that we still have until 4:00pm before we can go home.

I am glad that I usually have PE class in the morning — I have more energy then and I look forward to it. So in the afternoon, I just sit in the class. I stare at the clock and wait for the day to end.

It gets to 4:00 and the last bell rings. All the students let out a groan of relief.

We all grab our bags and leave the classroom.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

The first class in the afternoon begins

Most of the students feel kind of tired

I stare at the clock and wait for the day to end

It gets to 4:00 and the last bell rings

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your afternoon routine.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your afternoon routine.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your afternoon routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

On The Way Home Routine

Some people have extra classes after school that they have to attend. Some people leave work and go out with friends. Some might go to the gym to work out.

  • What do you do after school or work?
  • Do you have any social engagements or evening classes?
  • Or do you just go straight home?
  • And if so, how is the journey home? Just as crowded in the mornings or a little less so?

We should look at an extract of someone talking about their going home routine.

I leave school around 4:00pm and then I have to run to the bus stop and catch a bus for my evening class.

I hate the evening class so much but my mum told me I have to do it.

So I study all day and then I have to go to another school and study English for two hours. I don’t finish until 7:00pm. By then, I feel totally exhausted.

I get to the subway and go home. Because it is after rush hour there are much fewer people on the subway train, so I can easily get a seat.

I sleep all the way home because I feel so tired.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

I leave school around 4:00pm

I have to run to the bus stop

I have to go to another school and study English for two hours

I get to the subway and go home

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your going home routine.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your going home routine.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your going home routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

Evening Routine

So now the day has ended and you have some time to yourself. You finish work and you can just relax and do all the things you like to do.

Unless you’re a student — in which case you may have tons of homework to do and articles to read.

What do you like to do in the evening?

Even if you are just sitting on the sofa and watching TV, you can talk about what shows you like to watch. Do you watch them alone or with your family or loved ones?

For this part, I think it might be a good idea to look at two different perspectives. One from a student who has homework to do. And one from a working person who just goes home and relaxes.

I get home and I change out of my uniform and into some comfortable clothes.

The first thing I do after that is to get a drink of something. My mum usually keeps some of the things I like to drink in the fridge.

Then I take out all my school books and the homework I have to do for that evening. I usually have about two hours of homework to do most evenings. It seems like a lot but I am used to it now.

I put it all in order. I like to do the most difficult homework first, or the homework that I really hate to do. Then I end up with the homework I really like to do last. I like English so I always put that last.

I might do a little bit of the homework and then my mum will call me for dinner.

My dad doesn’t get home until much later. So me and my mum eat dinner together. She lets me watch some TV while we are eating dinner but then I have to get back into my room and finish the homework.

I finish my homework and then I just feel really tired.

By then I just want to sleep. But I take a shower and have a hot drink of something.

I get into bed around 10:30 and read for a little while. Then my eyes start feeling heavy and I turn the bedside lamp off and go to sleep.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

I change out of my uniform

The first thing I do after that is to get a drink

Then I take out all my school books

I like to do the most difficult homework first

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

Now let’s look at the next extract.

 

By the time I get home, it is about 7:00pm. I feel shattered.

My wife gets home before I do. I change out of my suit and put on some comfortable clothes.

Then we make dinner. We always try to share these kinds of things to do in the house.

We eat dinner on the sofa, watching the TV. It’s not a good habit but we don’t care. It is time to relax.

We usually stay up too late. We should really go to bed early so we are refreshed for the next day but we never do. I think most nights we go to bed around midnight.

My wife likes to watch police drama shows. I don’t mind them so we end up watching those.

But sometimes there might be a new movie and we will watch that.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

By the time I get home, it is about 7:00pm

My wife gets home before I do

Then we make dinner

We eat dinner on the sofa

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your evening routine.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your evening routine.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your evening routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

Night-time Routine

At night, most people get ready for bed. It might seem boring to talk about, but if you are talking about this in the IELTS test, you need to express as much as you can in English.

  • So what is your routine at night?
  • Do you shower at night?
  • Do you wash your hair and brush your teeth?

Maybe you read a little in bed before falling asleep.

Let’s look at one person’s night-time routine.

I try to go to bed around ten pm, so at that time I turn off the TV and the lights in the living room.

I check the front door to make sure it is locked and secure and then I make some hot tea to take to bed.

I brush my teeth in the bathroom. I don’t take a shower because I prefer to shower first thing in the morning.

I take my tea to the bedroom and get into bed.

I drink my tea and read a book for about twenty minutes. But soon I start to feel tired and then I have to put the book to the side, turn off the light and then I go to sleep.

 

Exercise

Go through all the text above and highlight all the verbs and adverbs of time.

Make a note of how the verbs and adverbs are used with other words:

I try to go to bed around ten pm

I turn off the TV and the lights in the living room

I check the front door

I drink my tea and read a book for about twenty minutes

Make a note of all these phrases and write them in your vocabulary notebook.

Then make sentences of your own.

 

Now You Try!

When you have done all the above exercises, you need to talk about your night-time routine.

You could write out a script and practice speaking out loud.

Or you could just use whatever phrases and vocabulary you know and just talk freely about your night-time routine.

You can practice in front of a mirror. But also try to talk about your night-time routine in front of your class and teacher.

 

Conclusion

 

Talking about your daily routine should not be too difficult as long as you think logically. Remember to talk about the sequence of events in order.

And make use of the right verb tense — simple present — and adverbs of time.

If you go over all the extracts that I wrote above, these should help you to speak about your mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Write down all the things you do — no matter how trivial you think they may be — and make a script out of them. Then practice by talking into a mirror out loud.

This will definitely help you.

I would love to hear about your progress — so please let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “How to Talk about your Daily Routine in English”

  1. It is amazing how even the simplest things in life provide such rich vocabulary to second language learners. As you say, it only involves using the present simple. But the present simple is not as simple as it seems, so practicing it with lots of questions and negatives is essential for acquisition. I even love tag questions for practice.

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