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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

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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 

Comments

Hello zagrus,

The various future forms in English have meanings that overlap quite a lot, and it is not unusual for more than one form to be possible in one context.

The two forms you are asking about are the present continuous and the present simple.  Typically, the present continuous is used to talk about the future when there is a strong or fixed arrangement (as contrasted with 'going to', which may be just a plan in someone's head), and the present simple is used for regular timetabled events.  I think you can probably see that a train leaving the station could be seen as either of these, depending on what the speaker prefers to emphasise.  In other words, both of these sentences are possible in this context, and neither is incorrect.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,
You said we use the present contineous when talking about fixed arrangements or when there is a strong evidence that something is going to happen. I didnt get it well, so can you please explain more by giving some examples

Hi zagrus,

Could you please ask this question on our present continuous page or talking about the future page? It's just that we'd like your question and our answer to be useful for other users who have the same question.

In fact, you might find the answer to your question on one of those pages!

Thanks.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

question 11 "They work in Liverpool."why it's work not works?
 

Hi Sanya1211,
In the present simple, works is the third person singular (he, she, it) form and work is the form for all other persons and numbers (I, you, we, they). Therefore, the correct verb form is work.
Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi The Learn English Team
I got some confused about this sentence and I need your help.
(He never drinks beer) I think this sentence should be under always true but the right answer was happens again and again .could you explain to me that please.
Regard,

Hello Mohammedeng!
 
That's a common question! You can see my answer to another learner here. The important thing is to remember to use the present tense for this kind of question.
 
Regards
 
Jeremy Bee
The LearnEnglish Team

hello i want to ask why we say , We fly to Paris next week
but we dont say , we are flying? or we will fly? what is the deferent?

Hello porsa3idy,
All of those alternatives are possible.  In general:
 

  • we use the present simple to talk about the future when it is a regular timetabled event, such as a train or flight departure
  • we use the present continuous to talk about arrangements in the future
  • we use 'will' to express decisions and our own predictions

 
You can find more information on different ways of talking about the future here.
I hope that clarifies it for you.
Best wishes,
 
Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

My question is that:you said we fly to paris next week,why not? We shall have flied to paris next week.And what are differences?

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