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

Hi Dear,

I have one question. Present simple is used for permanent works like : I go to work everyday.

But when we use sometimes it has a conflict with the meaning of permanent.

Would you please explain?

Thanks

Hello Anabel15,

In your example 'sometimes' does not tell us that an act is temporary but rather tells us about the frequency of the activity, just like 'every day'. 

The preset simple describes actions which are typical or normal for a given actor. They may not be permanent. For example, I might say 'My son goes to school at 7.00 in the morning". This is not permanent - he will stop going to school when he reaches a certain age - but it is typical of him and part of his normal routine so the present simple is used.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
I need some help in this sentence:
Why...(you/wear) your coat today? It's very warm.
What should I put in this sentence: present simple or present continuous?

Thank you for your help.

Hello WhiteCollar,

When we speak about the clothes we have on at the time of speaking (not habits), we use a continuous form. So here the present continuous is the correct form.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr. Kirk,
Thank You for your answer.
As I know: the present progressive is used to refer to events which are in progress or happening at the moment of speaking.
In the sentence we only know that someone wore a coat. And also we know that it happened today. We see only result of the action which happened in the past. Maybe it's a present perfect. We use present continuous only for description something in motion at the moment of speaking, don't we?

Thank You for help.

Hello WhiteCollar,

The most likely form here is the present continuous, based on the assumption that the person is still wearing the coat when the comment is made. Past simple is also possible, though unlikely as the comment about the temperature (it's very warm) uses a present form. Present simple is not correct here because the action is 'tody', not something which is generally true.

 

The present perfect is unlikely as it would suggest a present result of an earlier action. We might use present perfect with a different verb, such as 'put on' (Why have you put on that coat?), where there is a result of an action. However, this does not really work with the verb 'wear'. If the person looks hot and uncomfortable then we would use the verb 'put on'. We would use 'wear' only if we were referring to other people's reactions as the present result: Why have you worn that? People are laughing at you. However, even here 'put on' is much more likely. I think that in English we see the decision to choose a particular item which is the cause, not the actual wearing.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M,

Thank You very much for your explanation.

Best wishes,
WhiteCollar

Hello,

I heard this conversation today and was wondering about present simple use here:

(John to Jack on a phone) ''Ask him if he is mister Smith''

(Jack to Brian) ''Are you mister Smith?''

(Brian to Jack) ''Yes, I am.''

(Jack to John on the phone)''He says he is.''

Why isn't ''said'' used there? Could it mean as present perfect is used when something's just happened and the time gone is very little?

Thank you.

Hello MCWSL,

You're right in thinking that a past simple form is common in reported speech. In this case, as you rightly suspect, what's being reported has literally just happened and so the present simple is used. It might help to think of the conversation as still happening -- it seems it may even continue, i.e. John may ask Mr Smith another question through Jack, i.e. this present moment is still happening.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, I want to know if this is still a present simple tense

Do you ever learn from your mistakes?

Thank you.

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