Talking about schedules and routines is a common topic among family and friends. They may do so just out of curiosity or because they want to plan an event.

When talking about daily schedules and routines adverbs of frequency are used to indicate how frequently you do things. Look at these common adverbs of frequency.

Always UsuallySometimesSeldomNever
All the time Most of the timeOccasionally RarelyNot at all

Everyone has some kind of schedule or daily routine. They get up at a certain time, eat at a certain time, go grocery shopping on a certain day. For some people, schedules are very fixed and regimented. For others, schedules may be very flexible and varying. Most people have things on their schedules that have to be done, no matter what- like go to work, feed the baby, or taking medicine. Sometimes these things happen daily, sometimes weekly, and sometimes less frequently. No matter when or how often things are done, there are several expressions that can be used to ask or talk about schedules, routines, and expressing obligations. Look at the examples below.

English Expressions used when asking about schedules
Expression: What time (… do you usually go to bed)?
Response: I usually go to bed about 11:00 PM.
Expression: What days do (… you have off from work)?
Response: My days off are Saturday and Sunday.
Expression: When do you (… do your laundry)?
Response: I do my laundry on Saturdays
English used to Express Obligation
Expression: My father has to go to New York on a business trip.
Expression: I have to be in the office no later than 8:30 or my pay gets docked.
Expression: I’m expected to take my little sister to the movies on the weekends.
Expression: I am supposed to call my mother at least every other week.
Expression: All employees are required to have a drug test every six months.
** Expected to and supposed to are primarily used to express intentions, not absolutes. Use have to to express something definite.


Sharon: Now that you have a job, how is your day like?
Jenny: Long and busy, I wake up at 5:00 AM to get to work by 7:00.
Sharon: What time do you get home?
Jenny: Usually between 6:30 and 7:00.
Sharon: I assume you have an hour lunch break between 12:00 and 1:00.
Jenny: No, I have a 30 minute break. I usually eat my desk.
Sharon: When are your days off?
Jenny: Sunday and Monday.
Sharon: What do you do on your days off?
Jenny: I sleep late, clean house and go shopping.

Practice Activities

Find a partner and using the expressions above about talking about schedules and routines, tell each other about your daily schedule, both during the week and on the weekends. Also let your partner know about your daily or weekly obligations.

To find other conversation activities and dialogues for schedules and routines take a look at:
Conversation Made Easy OR Talk, Talk, Talk

Other Links for Schedules and Routines
XX Schedule Activity Sheets
XX Adverbs of Frequency
XX Routines- Lesson Plans