Teaching habits in the simple present

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Feb 16, 2008
Member Type
English Teacher
Hi all,

I am having trouble deciding on how to teach a student 'habits' in the simple present. He tends to say "I did cycling every day", rather than "i go cycling".

Should I use both the simple present and the simple past in a lesson to make him aware of the differences, or is this liable to confuse matters?
Feb 17, 2008
Member Type
It may depend on the native language of the student.

Arab students for example find it difficult to distinguish between the present simple and the present continuous. Moreover, Arabic verb system does not have a tense as in English. I mean you can use the past to refer to the present; the present can be used to refer to the past perfect continous etc.

In Arabic also, when you express a habit you say: "His habit is to go cycling".

At any rate, regardless of the native tongue of the student, you may wish to ask a student to tell you what he does everyday at 8 o'clock or at any time else. Then he will speak (in English). Pick on his answer and correct the mistakes in the verbs. This may help him understand how to use the present simple to express habits in the present time.

You should also have books with you illustrated with pictures showing a typical student waking up in the morning, washing up, getting dressed, having breakfast etc...

Under each picture there should be a sentence like:

Jim wakes up at 7 o'clock in the morning.
He washes up at 7:10.
He has his breakfast at 7:20.
He gets dressed at 7:35
He gets into the bus at 8:00



Key Member
Jan 14, 2008
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Native Language
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You can ask the students to talk about their habits with tense / time in mind.

What are your favorite habits today?
I go cycling every day.

What were your habits in the past?
I did cycling, I went cycling, or I rode my biike everyday.

What will be your habits in the future?
I will go cycling every day.
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