Talking about your job and your daily routines in English

We use the Present Simple to talk about things that are always true, and to talk about habits and routines. For this reason, use this tense to describe your job or to describe what you do every day.

Talking about your job

Remember: we use a / an before jobs. We use "a" before jobs that begin with a consonant sound, and "an" before jobs that begin with a vowel sound.

I work as a teacher / a doctor
He works as an electrician / an accountant

Useful verbs

Here are some useful verbs to describe what you do in your job.

(for management type jobs in a company or office): manage, organise, supervise
(for teaching and caring type jobs): teach, train, help, look after
(for construction, technology and jobs with machines): build, test, develop, design, program, repair, check
(for financial and planning type jobs): analyse, assess, evaluate, work out, prepare, plan
(for sales and marketing type jobs): buy, sell, import, export, market
(for driving and logistics type roles): drive, deliver, transport
(for jobs where communication is important): write, phone, talk, listen to, meet, attend / have meetings

You can also use "do" to describe your job. (We often use do to talk about routine, or more boring things.)

I do the housework / do the gardening / do the admin / do the paperwork

There are also activities where we use "make":

make appointments, make phone calls, make coffee, make decisions.

Job definitions exercise

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Talking about your daily routines

Here are some useful verbs to describe your routines and habits. Be careful to use the right preposition (to, at, in etc) with the verbs where necessary.

get up
get dressed
have a shower / a bath / a quick wash
wash your hair
put your make-up on (make-up = cosmetics)
have / eat breakfast (lunch, dinner, tea)
have a coffee / grab a coffee (grab = get something quickly)
get the kids ready for school (help your children get prepared for school)
leave home
go to school / go to work
get to school / arrive at school
get back / get home
watch TV / the news / a documentary
surf the net / go online
read a book / a magazine
take the dog out / take the dog for a walk
meet up with friends
catch up with friends / with emails / with the paperwork
tidy up (= make the house clean or organised)
do the washing-up / load the dishwasher (load – unload = put things in and take things out)
do homework (exercises from school)
do the housework (cleaning in the house)
go out for a meal / go to a restaurant
get undressed
go to bed

Telling the time

Here are some phrases to talk about the times of the day:

In the morning (until 12 / 1 pm)
In the afternoon (from 1 pm – 6 pm)
In the evening (from 6 pm until 12 pm or until you go to bed)
At night (after about 12 pm or until the early morning)

Here are some ways to tell the time:

When we give a specific time, we use at:

I leave home at 8 o'clock.

To tell the time between :00 and :30, use "past":
06:05 It's five past six
06:10 It's ten past six
06:15 It's quarter past six
06:20 It's twenty past six
06:30 It's half past six

To tell the time between :30 and :00, use "to":
06:35 It's twenty-five to seven
06:40 It's twenty to seven
06:45 It's quarter to seven
06:50 It's ten to seven

Or divide the time into two: the hour and the minutes:
06:05 It's six oh five
06:10 It's six ten
06:15 It's six fifteen
06:30 It's six thirty
96:45 It's six forty-five

Remember: English-speaking people generally tell the time in twelve hours (not 24 hours).
So 19:30 is "seven thirty" and not "nineteen thirty".

"What time is your train?"
"At 8." (not "at 20")

You can show the difference between morning and evening by saying "am" or "pm" after.
"My train's at 8 om."
Or "My train's at 8 in the evening."

(Don't use both: "My train's at 8pm in the evening" or "My train's at 8 pm o'clock" are wrong!)


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