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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 


Be going to and will
What's the difference?

Hello Svitlana1992,

Please take a look at our pages on future forms and on future plans.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks a lot

Thank you sir.

Hello sir, do both the sentences mean the same and are correct?
1. Due to this flood the mud houses are broken and also the road is damaged.
2. Due to this flood the mud houses have been broken and also the road has been damaged.
Depending on sense can PRESENT SIMPLE and PRESENT PERFECT be used interchangeably?

Hello amrita,

'break' is an ergative verb so both 1 and 2 are correct. 1 is probably more common unless you want to make it clear that someone broke the houses.

If you're reporting something that has happened recently, i.e. as a news item, the present perfect would be better.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello pamella,

In this sentence, the present simple, past simple and present perfect tenses are all possible. The present simple would be a bit unusual, so I'd recommend either past simple or present perfect.

The present perfect could indicate, for example, that you are reporting some recent news. The past simple can also report news, but lends a bit less focus on it as something new.

I'd recommend reading our talking about the past page for more clarification on this, but please don't hesitate to ask us again if it's still not clear after that.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter
I have a question for you about 3rd person tense. My teacher taught us he, she, it, name = verb+s e.g. he talks.
But when I search online or other grammar books, they never mention 'name' as in The Purple Team plays well or The Chen Family wins. Is my teacher wrong? If not, why isn't this rule explained more?

Hello Daniel chen,

Your teacher is right. It's also true that it's a little more complex, but your teacher was probably trying to keep things simple.

Sometimes, and especially in British English, we use a plural verb with a singular name. For example, we can say 'The BBC have produced a new series'. 'The BBC' is the name of a large organisation and is grammatically singular, but since it is made up of many people, we often use a plural verb with it. In American English it would be strange to say this -- they would say 'The BBC has produced ...'. You could also say it this way in Britain, but it's quite common to say 'have' instead.

I hope that clarifies this for you, but if not, please don't hesitate to ask us again.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir, I can hope you are fine and fit. I wish to know what is different between these two sentences: 1) I don't smoke. 2) I never smoke.