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Present simple

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


Present simple questions 2


Present simple questions 3


Present simple questions 4


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


Present simple negatives 2


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


Present simple 2


Present simple 3


Present simple 4


Present simple 5


Present simple 6


Present simple 7


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 


Hello Sir
Thank you very much for explaining the question tag 'aren't I ?
I was unsure of it. Now I am positive.

Hello Sir
Re: relative clauses
Please let me know whether the two sentences . one and two are correct or not.
Jim is a good athlete. We al admire him.
1. Jim is a good athlete whom we all admire.
2. Jim whom we all admire is a good athlete.
Thank you.

Hello Lal,

The first sentence is fine, though 'who' is more common in modern English than 'whom'.

The second sentence needs commas around the relative clause:

Jim, whom we all admire, is a good athlete.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Re: dozen
The noun dozen is plural according to the dictionary. But can't one add 's' e.g. two dozens of apples or two dozen of apples the dictionary example is 'two dozen of sheep' is it because sheep is uncountable.?
Please let me know.
Thank you.

Hi Lal,

'dozen' is plural, for the reasons you mention. The Cambridge Dictionary's entry for 'dozen' shows this clearly where it says noun [C]. The 'C' shows that it is a count noun; unless otherwise specificed, nouns are listed in their singular form in the dictionary.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please let me know whether these two sentences are grammatically correct. If not please let me know the correct way of writing it.
1. I was learning English when you called me.
2. I had been learning English when you called me.

Thank you.

Hi Lal,

Both sentences are grammatically correct. Well done!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please tell me whether I am right or wrong. We cannot use 'when' with present perfect tense. For e.g. When have they come? This is not correct. When did they come ? This is correct. I think one cannot use 'when' with present perfect tense. I am I correct? Please let me know.
Thank you.

Hi Lal,

It is possible, though a bit unusual, to use the present perfect in questions beginning with 'when'. You could say, for example, 'When have I ever lied to you?' and that is correct, but in most instances asking this sort of question is probably going to asking a question about a finished past time and so the past simple is more likely, as you suppose.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
I think the word 'none' means no one. Am I correct ? Also I would like to know whether the sentences given below are correct. I think they are correct but please let me know. They are: None of the chairs are new.
None of the equipment is new. (uncountable noun)
Thank you.