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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
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

Hello Sir
Please explain this to me. If sombdy asks me 'Have you had lunch? ' My answer:
I have had lunch. Thank you. / I had lunch. Thank you.

Both these answers are correct or one then which one

Hi Lal,

Both forms are fine, though the present perfect form is probably more common. 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Re: active voce to passive voice
Please help me to understand this. Any active voice sentence with a object can be changed into passive voice that is the verb is transitive. I am I correct?
e.g. Boys like to play football. (active voice) Now I want to change into passive voice. e.g. To play football is liked by boys.
The girl is learning to sew. To sew is being learnt by the girl.
Are these passive sentences correct?
I am not sure of the first sentence but 'like' is a transitive verb.
Thank you.

Hi Lal,

In theory, what you say is correct, but the sentences you've chosen to transform are not ones that you'd likely find in the passive. It's more common for the active verb to have a simple direct object, e.g. 'Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet', which could be rendered 'Romeo and Juliet was written by Shakespeare' in the passive. Though really, we usually use the passive when we want to de-emphasise the agent, so it's more common in sentences such as 'Mistakes were made' (we don't want to say who made the mistakes) than it is to find one such as the example with Shakespeare.

Have you seen our active and passive voice page? This sort of question would be better asked there.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
Re: who or whom
Jim is good athlete who we all admired a lot.
My question? Is it all right to use 'who' 'instead' of whom? In the above and in all situations unlike earlier. Is it accepted?
Please let me know.
Thank you.

Hi Lal,

That really depends on who (or 'whom') you ask, but I'd say the vast majority of native speakers of British and American English would just say 'who' in this and similar sentences. Fifty years ago, there would have been more who used 'whom' instead of 'who', and they'd likely have insisted on it being more correct, but this attitude is much harder to find nowadays.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir
This is about question tags. e.g. I am taller than you,------------ ? I would like to
know the question tag for the above.
Please help me.
Thank you.

Hello Lal,

We use te auxiliary verb 'are' for question tags in the first person, so the tag would be as follows:

I'm taller than you, aren't I?



The LearnEnglish Team