Level: beginner

The present tense is the base form of the verb:

I work in London. 

But with the third person singular (she/he/it), we add an –s:

She works in London.

Present simple questions

Look at these questions:

Do you play the piano?
Where do you live?

Does Jack play football?
Where does he come from?

Do Rita and Angela live in Manchester?
Where do they work?

We use do and does to make questions with the present simple. We use does for the third person singular (she/he/it) and do for the others.

We use do and does with question words like where, what and when:

Where do Angela and Rita live?
What does Angela do?
When does Rita usually get up?

But questions with who often don't use do or does:

Who lives in London?
Who plays football at the weekend?
Who works at Liverpool City Hospital?

Here are some useful questions. Try to remember them:

Where do you come from?
Do you come from …?
Where do you live?
Do you live in ...?
What work do you do?
Do you like …?
Do you know …?

 
Present simple questions 1

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Present simple questions 2

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Present simple questions 3

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Present simple questions 4

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Present simple negatives

Look at these sentences:

I like tennis but I don't like football. (don't = do not)
I don't live in London now.
I don't play the piano but I play the guitar.
They don't work at the weekend.
John doesn't live in Manchester.
(doesn't = does not)
Angela doesn't drive to work. She goes by bus.

We use do and does to make negatives with the present simple. We use doesn't for the third person singular (she/he/it) and don't for the others.

Present simple negatives 1

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Present simple negatives 2

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Present simple and present time

We use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is true in the present:

I'm nineteen years old.
I'm a student.
He lives in London.

  • something that happens regularly in the present:

I play football every weekend.

  • something that is always true:

The human body contains 206 bones.
Light travels at almost 300,000 kilometres per second.

We often use adverbs of frequency like sometimes, always and never with the present simple:

I sometimes go to the cinema.
She never plays football.

Here are some useful sentences. Complete them so that they are true for you and try to remember them:

My name is … .
I'm … years old.
I come from … .
I live in … .
I'm a(n) … .
I … at the weekend.
I often … .
I never … .

Complete these sentences so that they are true for a friend and try to remember them:

Her/His name is … .
She's/He's … years old.
She/He comes from … .
She/He lives in … .
She's/He's a(n) … .
She/He … at the weekend.
She/He often … .
She/He never … .
Present simple 1

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Present simple 2

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Present simple 3

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Present simple 4

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Present simple 5

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Present simple 6

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Present simple 7

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Level: intermediate

Present simple and future time

We also use the present simple to talk about:

  • something that is fixed in the future:

The school term starts next week.
The train leaves at 19.45 this evening.
We fly to Paris next week.

  • something in the future after time words like when, after and before and after if and unless:

I'll talk to John when I see him.
You must finish your work before you go home.

If it rains we'll get wet.
He won't come unless you ask him.

Present simple 8

ex. Present simple 8

Level: advanced

We sometimes use the present simple to talk about the past when we are: 

  • telling a story:

I was walking down the street the other day when suddenly this man comes up to me and tells me he has lost his wallet and asks me to lend him some money. Well, he looks a bit dangerous so I'm not sure what to do and while we are standing there 

  • summarising a book, film or play:

Harry Potter goes to Hogwarts School. He has two close friends, Hermione and …

Shakespeare's Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark. One night he sees his father's ghost. The ghost tells him he has been murdered 

Basic level

Comments

Consider this sentence: "They usually pay the bills on time."

In the Exercise the correct answer is : Happens again and again. But from the word "usually" we can conclude that it is true for most of the time but not always. So the answer should be True in the present.
Please can anyone explain me why am I wrong ??

Hello khmsayush,

The idea here is that the people pay the bills on a fixed schedule. Sometimes they are late, but it implies they pay each time they need to. It's not true in the present, because it's not really speaking about the present -- it's speaking about the schedule. The payment is something that happens regularly, i.e. again and again.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk. I found this sentence in a filling in exercise on the web, and the correct answer was present continuous. It was out of context.

How can you be of help for me to study the IELTS course in the UK? Because here in Nigeria there's nothing like such.

Hello Daniel,

There are some links to useful resources on the Courses and resources page of the British Council in Nigeria that should give you a good start. TakeIELTS is another great resource for IELTS preparation and Study UK has information on different study options in the UK.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Could you help me please ?
Which one is correct: Jenny watches tv every morning or Jenny is watching tv every morning

Hello Patrizia L,

Both can be correct -- it depends on what you mean. If you mean Jenny does this most every day, i.e. it is her routine, then the first one is correct. But if, for example, you're referring to a specific temporary time period (e.g. while she is staying with her grandparents for a week), the second form would be better. Please see our talking about the present page for more examples.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I disagree with you. We can't say: She IS WATCHING TV every morning. We can say "She watches TV every morning" or we can say "She has been watching TV every morning for the past two weeks".
We can only say "is watching" to talk about the continuous action in the present: She is watching TV NOW.

Hello Arianna,

If there's no context, I'd agree with you, but in context you could hear it. For example, imagine your daughter has been staying with her grandparents in Ohio for the past week. You've just spoken to her grandmother and find out she's been watching TV every morning while she's there. If your partner asks you how your daughter is, knowing that she likes to watch TV but that you normally don't let her at home, you could say, 'She's great! She's watching TV every morning'. You could still say this even if you're speaking at night, i.e. when it's not the morning at the time of speaking.

Does that make sense? It's not a common use, but it's useful to see that the continuous aspect is used for more than speaking about the present moment.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I still disagree. You could say: "She HAS BEEN WATCHING TV every morning." or "She WATCHES TV every morning." "She is watching" is the Present Continuous: "She IS WATCHING TV NOW." If someone asked how my daughter is doing, I would never say "She IS WATCHING TV every morning." , just as I would never say "I AM BRUSHING my teeth EVERY MORNING.", "He IS RUNNING four miles EVERY MORNING.", or "I AM GOING to work EVERY MORNING.". I would say:"She's fine, but she HAS BEEN WATCHING TV every morning and I'm not really happy about that."

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