Present simple tense

PRESENT SIMPLE

Present simple tense – also called simple present or present indefinite – represents one of the basic verb forms in English. It is used to describe actions and situations that happen in present, especially when the speaker is focused on facts or actions themselves (simple actions – hence the name present simple). For detailed description of the situation or the activity process we use present continuous described here.

Let’s take a look at present simple in more detail:
In this article you will find out how to form positive and negative sentences (Affirmatives and Negatives) and questions (Interrogatives) in present simple tense. You will learn more details about the situations when the present simple tense is used. You will see a lot examples, overviews, useful tips and common mistakes corrections, as well as comparisons with other tenses, e.g. present continuous or present perfect.

Remember to test and practice your knowledge in our free tests below – we have prepared a lot of them for you.

PRESENT SIMPLE USE

We use present simple to express:

1. present actions that occur repeatedly or are true for a long time.
• John goes to work by bus.
• I always have breakfast in the morning.
• They live in Paris.

2. general facts or truths.
• The Moon rotates around the Earth..
• My mother has blue eyes.
• The river flows to the sea.

3. present states and conditions.
• I don’t drink.
• I understand Japanese.
• Mary stands by the window.
• They live here.




HINT
Present simple is often used together with adverbs of frequency or expressions of frequency such as:

usually, often, sometimes, always, rarely, never, frequently, every day, generally, seldom, occasionally etc..

EXAMPLES
• Paul often plays this videogame.
• I usually get up at 6 am.
• Mary sometimes listens to jazz.
• I always take a walk after lunch.
• They are always late.
• We rarely spend more than 30 minutes in this shopping center.


PRESENT SIMPLE FORMS

FULL VERBS

a/ Affirmative:
Affirmative (positive sentence) in Present simple is formed from the infinitive by removing “to” (to learn -> I learn):
• I work too much.
• They prefer living in a small town.

In the third person of singular we add “s” / “es”:
• She speaks German fluently.
• He washes the car too often.
• It hurts.

b/ Negative:
Negatives in present simple are formed by adding the auxiliary verb do not / don’t before the full verb:
• I do not know him.
• They don’t drive.

In the third person of singular (he/she/it) we use does not / doesn’t instead of do not / don’t. Make sure that you remove “s”/ “es” from the full verb:
• She doesn’t live here anymore.
• He does not speak German.

c/ Interrogative (questions):
We use the auxiliary verbs do / does to create questions in present simple. However, the word order needs to be changed so that the auxiliary verb comes first:
Do you really need that much time?
Does your mother know about it?

d/ Negative questions:
In negative questions in present simple the auxiliary verb in negative is used either in its short or the long form as follows:
Don’t you recognize me?
Does he not come here anymore?


Overview: Full verbs in present simple form – Affirmative, Negative and Interrogative

Let’s take a brief overview of full verb forms in present simple in the table below. The verb to work will serve as an example.

AFFIRMATIVE NEGATIVE QUESTION
I work I don’t work Do I work?
You work You don’t work Do you work?
He/she/it works He/she/it doesn’t work Does he/she/it work?
We work We don’t work Do we work?
You work You don’t work Do you work?
They work They don’t work Do they work?

NOTE & REMEMBER
The third person of singular always has “s” / “es” at the end and the auxiliary verb changes from do to does. However be careful to avoid the common mistake in negatives and questions. You must remove the “s / es” from the full verb:

Common mistakes:
Incorrect: Does she speaks?Correct: Does she speak?
Incorrect: She doesn’t speaks.Correct: She doesn’t speak.

TO HAVE

Be careful with the verb “to have”. Its form is slightly changed in the third person of singular. We say he/she/it HAS.
• She has such a nice voice.
• Tom has many friends.

Check the table below for a quick overview:

AFFIRMATIVE NEGATIVE QUESTION
I have I don’t have Do I work?
You have You don’t have Do you work?
He/she/it has He/she/it doesn’t have Does he/she/it work?
We have We don’t have Do we work?
You have You don’t have Do you work?
They have They don’t have Do they work?

TO BE

Verb “to be” is an exception with regards to form in present simple. There is a special form for most of the persons and you simply have to memorize them all.
• We are classmates.
• John is rich.

There is no auxiliary verb used with ”to be”, the negatives are made by adding “not” and questions are formed by changing the word order only.

Below is an overview of the forms of the verb “to be” in Present Simple – Affirmative, Negative and Interrogative.

AFFIRMATIVE NEGATIVE QUESTION
I am I’m not Am I?
You are You aren’t Are you?
He/she/it is He/she/it isn’t Is he/she/it?
We are We aren’t Are we?
You are You aren’t Are you?
They are They aren’t Are they?

MODAL VERBS


PRACTICE Present Simple form
PRACTICE Present Simple use / expressing the present

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