You are here

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 


I'm wondering why do we sometimes use present simple when we narrate a past event? Can you explain it to us?

Hello gaudentiaresika,

This is a stylistic choice. Present forms can be used to make a narrative more immediate and direct. They are sometimes used in literature for this effect - The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins are examples of novels writen using present forms.

Present forms are particularly common in anecotes and jokes, and also when describing sporting events, either as commentary or when describing them later.



The LearnEnglish Team

Is this question a Present simple tense?

Who will cook dinner tonight?

Hello Bobby Glazed

No, I'm afraid that is a 'will' + infinitive form, which seems to be used to talk about willingness here (see point 3 on our Talking about the future page). 'Who cooks dinner tonight?' uses the present simple.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

when we use it what should we use(do/does)

Hi, sanjay
When que use the "sir",se are implying that It is a person of masculino vender, so it should be used as a subject "he", so we would be speaking un the third person, It is for this reason that the "does" instead of "do"

We use « do » when the subject is I-you-we or they.
When the subject is he-she or « it » we add «does » at the beginning to make the affirmative sentence a question.
The letter « s » at the end of the verb in the affirmative sentence ( because it is in third person) disappears in the question.

Hello, Sanjay.
You should use "does" with the third person singular(he,she,it); and "do" with the rest(I,You,They). Either question or answer, positive or negative(don't, doesn't/ do not, does not).

Hello Sanjay

We use 'does' when 'it' is the subject.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Does or Do?

Which of your friends _____ the most exercise? I'm 99% sure its "does", but I can't 100% say why, can anyone answer this seemingly simple question?