The present tense is the base form of the verb: I work in London.
But the third person (she/he/it) adds an -s: She works in London.

Use

We use the present tense to talk about:

  • something that is true in the present:

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

  • something that happens again and again in the present:

I play football every weekend.

We use words like sometimes, often. always, and never (adverbs of frequency) with the present tense:

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

  • something that is always true:

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

  

  • something that is fixed in the future.

The school term starts next week.
The train leaves at 1945 this evening.
We fly to Paris next week.

 

Questions and negatives

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?

  • With the present tense, we use do and does to make questions. We use does for the third person (she/he/it) and we use do for the others.

 

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

 

 But look at these questions with who:

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

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.

  • With the present tense we use do and does to make negatives. We use does not (doesn’t) for the third person (she/he/it) and we use do not (don’t) for the others.

Complete these sentences with don’t or doesn’t:

Exercise

Section: 

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

Hi, i am just struggling to understand when to use s in the third person present simple and when not to use s. i always hear people saying "may the Lord bless you" why not " may the Lord blesses you"?

thanks
Tim

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