What I do and how I live

Simple present

Simple present is usually used to talk about states, routines, schedules and regular actions. It is also used to describe what people do in their jobs and occupations. It is possible to use simple present or present simple to describe the same tense. Both are correct.

The uses of the afirmative form of the simple present are shown in Grammar Box 1.

In the simple present, verbs in the third person of singular (he, she and it) always take an “s”. For example: he plays, she sings, it seems.

Look at the following sentences:

  • Maria and Pedro speak English properly.
  • My mother works in a restaurant downtown.

Look at Grammar Box 2 to study the spelling rules.

Third person of singular

The auxiliary verb To Do

We use the auxiliary verb To Do when we want to ask questions with yes or no as an answer. We use do or does depending on the subject.

Look at Grammar Box 3 and study the interrogative form of the verb in simple present.

In the interrogative forms, we use do or does. Look at the examples:

  • Do you like the house?
  • Does she go to school?
  • Do they play football?

Verbs never take an “s” in the negative and interrogative forms. In these cases the verb remains in the infinitive form.

As said before, we use the auxiliary verb To Do to form questions with yes or no as an answer. We use do or does for afirmative answers and do not or does not for negative answers.

Look at the examples:

• Do you like ice cream?
Yes, I do.
No, I do not.

• Does he play baseball?
Yes, he does.
No, he does not.

For short answers in negative we can use the contractions. Look at the following examples:

• Does he swim?
No, he doesn’t.

• Do you smoke?
No, I don’t.

The verb To Have

We use the verb To Have to indicate possession. We use have or has depending on the subject. The simple present of this verb consists of have for the first and second person of singular and first, second and the third person of plural. Has is only used for the third person of singular. See Grammar Box 4 for examples of each person.

When using the verb To Have in negative form, you have to use the auxiliary verb To Do, as explained previously. Look at the following examples.

  • Pedro does not have a dog.
  • We do not have a vegetable garden in our house.

When making questions we also use the auxiliary verb To Do. Look at the following examples of questions and answers.

  • Does Elvira have children? Yes, she does.
  • Do you have a cat? No, I don’t (do not).

Sport, work and leisure activities

There are some activities that are common in our daily routines. However, not all of them are done by everybody. For example, in the morning, your mom usually prepares breakfast and your dad goes to work. In the afternoon, you play football, go to work or do homework. At night, you maybe read a book. So, everybody in the family has different activities: at work, for recreation and sports.

In the following charts you can see some vocabulary about sport, leisure and work activities.

What are some other activities that you do at home and school? What activities do you enjoy in your free time? What are some activities that your parents do at work?

Community activities and public places

In public places people can meet and interact with persons from their community. There are places that you can go with your family for example the market, the park, the church and the public squares. By going to these public places people can get to know each other and create strong community.

In the market people can buy food, clothes, fruits, vegetables, kitchen items and in some places even animals. It is also important to have fun with your family and friends. Many people enjoy going to the park to walk and play some sport. In some communities it is common to celebrate religious ceremonies. People go to churches and pray with their families.

One of our traditions in Mexico is to celebrate the day of independence. On september 15th, people in different cities and towns get together in the city center known as the “zocalo” or main square. There they buy foods, drinks, toys, and watch 􀀁 reworks while they enjoy mexican music.

There are other public places such as: school, bank, restaurant and museum.

Public transportation

In Mexico there are many ways to go from one place to another: by bus, by plane, by subway, by train, by ferry, by car (taxi), etc. Animals, such as horses and mules, can also be used as transportation between small communities in the mountains, jungle, etc.

Adverbs of frequency

Think about the activities that you do everyday. What time do you have breakfast? What time do you go to sleep? These activities are known as daily routines. There are also activities that we do in weekends such as visiting family and friends. Some other things we do yearly for example celebrating birthday.

In english there are some words that are used to talk about daily routines. In the next box you can see some of them.

To describe routines in english we also use some adverbs to describe how frequently we do an activity. These are called adverbs of frequency.

Adverbs of frequency are adverbs of time that answer the questions how frequently? Or how often? They tell us how often something happens.

Look at the adverbs in the following box.

Daily (Diariamente)
Weekly (Semanalmente)
Yearly (Anualmente)
Often (Seguido)
Sometimes (A veces)
Rarely (Raramente)

You probably see a difference between A and B above. With words like daily we know exactly how often. The words in A describe definite frequency. On the other hand, the words in B describe indefinite frequency, words like often give us an idea about frequency but they don’t tell us exactly. Look at the examples.

  • I go to school daily.
  • My father cleans the car weekly.
  • We go to “La Villa” yearly.
  • He often goes to the doctor.
  • She sometimes reads a book.
  • My mom rarely gets angry.

There are adverbs of indefinite and definite frequency. An adverb of indefinite frequency is used to express how many times an event occurs. Look at the following chart.

The adverbs of frequency in the following chart are called adverbs of de􀀁 nite frequency because you know exactly how many times the action occurs.

hourly (cada hora)daily (diariamente)daily (diariamente)
monthly (mensualmente)yearly (anualmente)every second (cada segundo)
once (una vez)once a day (una vez al día)twice (dos veces)
twice a year (dos veces al año)once or twice (una vez o dos veces)three times (tres veces)

Adverbs of definite frequency usually go at the end of a sentence. Look at these examples:

  • Most people pay the rent monthly.
  • The doctor checks the patient every hour.
  • To review progress, the teachers check notebooks weekly.

Usually for reasons of emphasis or style, some adverbs of de􀀁 nite frequency may go at the front of the sentence. Look at the example:

  • Every day, more than a million kids go to school.

Look at the following rules of adverbs of frequency.

1. Adverbs of frequency are often used with the present simple because they indicate repeated or routine activities.

2. Adverbs of frequency can be placed in different places in the sentence depending on the focus.

  • I sometimes visit my aunt/Sometimes I visit my aunt/I visit my aunt sometimes.
  • We often see her pass by the house/We see her pass by the house often.
  • My friend is always late for school/My friend is late for school always.

3. Rarely and seldom can also go at the end of a sentence (often with “very”).

  • We see them very rarely.
  • Luis eats meat seldom.

Wh questions

In english, there are six important question words that ask about things, time, people, places, reasons and feelings. Five of them start with Wh, and the last is how, which is why we call them Wh words. Take a look at Grammar Box 5 for an example of each of them.

When you want to make a question with the Wh words, you have to use the auxiliary verb To Do, unless the verb of your sentence is To Be. See Grammar Box 6 for examples.

Fuente: Secretaría de Educación Pública. (2015). Lengua adicional al español I. Ciudad de México.