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 

Basic level


Hello mazi70,

Both forms are possible but the present simple ('hurts') is more likely. The continuous form would be used when the pain suddenly occurs, not when there is an ongoing problem.



The LearnEnglish Team

hello peter
i'm a bit confused
we use simple present for permanent situation and continuous for temporary situation too
the patient's head hurts for a short time e.x 2 days or a week but it's not permanent situation ,it's temporary situation
may i ask you explain it to me more
thank you

Hello mazi70,

The continuous form here would emphasise that the pain is happening as the person speaks rather than being a constant feeling:

My head hurts = it's sore

My head is hurting = it wasn't sore some time (a moment) ago but now it is


Thus, if we are talking about a problem which is constant (even if it only began yesterday) then we would use the simple form. If we are talking about, say, an intermittent pain which comes and goes then the continuous form.

My head hurts all the time. It started a week ago.

My head is hurting. It was fine when I came in but now it's quite painful.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Kirk,
Thank you for helping me regarding 'If a person is trying to go up the ladder...Help me to understand this ,too: 'give them' but not 'give him' Is it because 'both genders.' without telling 'him or her.' Please let me know.
Thank you.

Hi Lal,

That is correct. Well done.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Please let me know which sentence is better to use and if they are grammatically correct if not correct it and let me know which is better
e.g. If a person is trying to go up the ladder give him a push, don't pull him down. or If a person wants to go up the ladder give him a push, don't pull him down.
Thank you.

Hello Lal
I think you should make some changes, for example:
If a person is trying to climb the ladder, give it a push, do not pull it down.
Or it could also be:
If a person wants to climb the ladder, give it a push, do not pull it down.

Hi Lal,

They both sound fine to me. In writing, I would punctuate them differently -- something like: 'If a person is trying to go up the ladder, give them a push -- don't pull them down.' 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
My question is regarding present continuous and verbs of senses such as

see, taste, feel etc. e.g. How are you feeling today? How do you feel now? Normally one does not use continuous form with these verbs but in some situations we use. I am feeling tired. or I feel tired.
Are these sentences correct?
Please let me know.

Hello Lal,

As you say, usually we do not use these verbs with continuous aspect. However, there are exceptions when we want to emphasise that something is (a) temporary and also (b) not typical, or when there has been a change. Thus I can say I'm feeling good if normally or recently I was not in good form (I was sick, for example). I might say It's looking good if it was not good up to now but has just changed.



The LearnEnglish Team