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 

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Profile picture for user sed far

Submitted by sed far on Tue, 19/03/2019 - 14:30

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Hi can we say the simple present usally use it in the habites and the facts !!! Thanks ! Sed Far
Profile picture for user Kirk

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 19/03/2019 - 17:29

In reply to by sed far

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Hello Sed Far Yes, you can say that two of the uses of the present simple are to speak about habits and facts, though there are also other uses (see the bottom half of the page for examples). All the best Kirk The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Goktug123 on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 15:50

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Hello team! I have a question.Does these questions have the same meaning? "What do you ask on my mind?" "What is on my mind you ask?"

Hello Goktung123,

The first question is not correct. The second question is grammatically correct, but there should be a comma before 'you'.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 09:35

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Hello Sir Re: a comma after a phrase and before the subject For example: At the weekend she likes to go for a walk in the country or to go swimming in the pool near her home. My question is - a comma after 'At the weekend ' before 'she' is wrong to have or is it an option? Please let me know Regards Lal

Hi Lal

I would put a comma there, but not everyone would. If you're writing for a publication, the style guide used by the publishing house will likely prefer one usage or the other.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Thu, 24/01/2019 - 06:10

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Hi Sir This is regarding commas after a conjunction e.g. I turned the corner, and ran smack into a petrol car. (incorrect) So the correct one is without the comma before 'and' I am I correct but I would like to know this sentence is correct. I turned the corner and, I ran smack into a petrol car. ( a comma after and but with the subject 'I.' Please let me know. Thank you. Regards Lal

Submitted by mazi70 on Mon, 17/12/2018 - 09:27

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hello sir i wanna know which sentences are correct and let me know why? doctor: what's the matter? patient: my head hurts what's the matter?my head is hurting
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 18/12/2018 - 07:14

In reply to by mazi70

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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.

 

Peter

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sun, 21/10/2018 - 04:06

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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. Regards Lal
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 21/10/2018 - 08:24

In reply to by Lal

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Hi Lal,

That is correct. Well done.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sat, 20/10/2018 - 07:57

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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. Regards Lal

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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

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.

Submitted by Lal on Wed, 17/10/2018 - 10:04

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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. Regards Lal

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.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Tue, 02/10/2018 - 07:53

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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 Regards Lal

Hi Lal,

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

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Wed, 26/09/2018 - 08:17

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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. Regards Lal

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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Tue, 25/09/2018 - 08:11

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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. Regards Lal

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,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Tue, 25/09/2018 - 07:59

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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. Regards Lal

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?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Sir Thank you very much for explaining the question tag 'aren't I ? I was unsure of it. Now I am positive. Regards Lal

Submitted by Lal on Sun, 23/09/2018 - 11:20

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Hello Sir Re: relative clauses Please let me know whether the two sentences . one and two are correct or not. Jim is a good athlete. We al admire him. 1. Jim is a good athlete whom we all admire. 2. Jim whom we all admire is a good athlete. Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

The first sentence is fine, though 'who' is more common in modern English than 'whom'.

The second sentence needs commas around the relative clause:

Jim, whom we all admire, is a good athlete.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Fri, 07/09/2018 - 08:37

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Hello Sir Re: dozen The noun dozen is plural according to the dictionary. But can't one add 's' e.g. two dozens of apples or two dozen of apples the dictionary example is 'two dozen of sheep' is it because sheep is uncountable.? Please let me know. Thank you. Regards Lal

Hi Lal,

'dozen' is plural, for the reasons you mention. The Cambridge Dictionary's entry for 'dozen' shows this clearly where it says noun [C]. The 'C' shows that it is a count noun; unless otherwise specificed, nouns are listed in their singular form in the dictionary.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sat, 01/09/2018 - 06:14

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Hello Sir Please let me know whether these two sentences are grammatically correct. If not please let me know the correct way of writing it. 1. I was learning English when you called me. 2. I had been learning English when you called me. Thank you. Regards Lal

Hi Lal,

Both sentences are grammatically correct. Well done!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Wed, 29/08/2018 - 09:00

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Hello Sir Please tell me whether I am right or wrong. We cannot use 'when' with present perfect tense. For e.g. When have they come? This is not correct. When did they come ? This is correct. I think one cannot use 'when' with present perfect tense. I am I correct? Please let me know. Thank you. Regards Lal

Hi Lal,

It is possible, though a bit unusual, to use the present perfect in questions beginning with 'when'. You could say, for example, 'When have I ever lied to you?' and that is correct, but in most instances asking this sort of question is probably going to asking a question about a finished past time and so the past simple is more likely, as you suppose.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sat, 25/08/2018 - 12:12

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Hello Sir I think the word 'none' means no one. Am I correct ? Also I would like to know whether the sentences given below are correct. I think they are correct but please let me know. They are: None of the chairs are new. None of the equipment is new. (uncountable noun) Thank you. Regards Lal

Submitted by Lal on Tue, 21/08/2018 - 09:01

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Hello Sir Thank you for your answer: subject question and object question Please help me in this too. John repairs ------------ .I want to know 'what' so my question is 'What does John repair? Am I correct? ---------- repairs computers. I want to know who so my question is 'who repairs computers? John (subject question) Somebody has broken a glass. My question is 'who broke the glass? Or Who did this? Who has broken the glass? Or Who has done this? Am I correct? Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

All of those questions are correct. Well done, you got it!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 12:33

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Hello Sir Thank you very much for your prompt answer to questions with 'who' If I want to change this: who did the washing up? into the present tense is it all right to say 'who does the washing up?' But normally we don't use 'do', does with 'who' Please help me to understand this. Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

It is possible to make two different kinds of questions with 'who' (and with some other question words as well): subject questions and object questions. Subject question do not use an auxiliary verb while object questions do. For example:

Paul spoke to Sue.

Who spoke to Sue? (subject question)

Who did Paul speak to? (object question)

 

For more information and examples please see this page.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by boon tee on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 09:47

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Hi there, I come across this sentence "But if you look at all the destructive extreme weather buffeting the world this summer alone, it’s as if Mother Nature were saying to us" question: if Mother Nature "were" or "are" saying to us? and why .. Thank you.

Hello boon tee,

The correct word here is 'were'. Nature is not saying anything, so it is clearly an imaginary situation.

The sentence is a complex one but it has a conditional structure: if you look, it is...

The rest is the complement of the verb 'is', and the 'as if' phrase is part of this.

In modern English you can use 'was' after 'if' (If I was / If I were) without changing the meaning.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sun, 19/08/2018 - 09:45

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Hello Sir Re: questions with 'who' Is it wrong to say? Who does the wash up? Who did this? Please let me know? Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

The questions should be as follows:

Who did the washing up?

Who did it? / Who did this?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sat, 18/08/2018 - 10:36

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Hello Sir Re: each + singular verb/plural verb Please let me know whether these sentences are correct or not. Each year trees shed their leaves. Each boy and girl has a laptop. Each and every boy has a laptop. Thank you. Regards Lal

Submitted by Lal on Wed, 15/08/2018 - 09:11

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Hello Sir Thank you very much for your answer to my question 'Do you live in a house or a flat?' Now it is very clear. Thank you again. Regards Lal

Submitted by Lal on Mon, 13/08/2018 - 10:54

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Hello Sir Do you live in a house or a flat? In the above sentence: 'in' after 'or' is not written. Is it not necessary to write or is it understood? For e.g. Do you live in a house or in a flat? Please let me know. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

You can omit the second 'in' here. We often omit repeated words. For example, all of the following are grammatically correct:

Do you live in a house or do you live in a flat?

Do you live in a house or live in a flat?

Do you live in a house or in a flat?

Do you live in a house or a flat?

Do you live in a house or flat?

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Tue, 07/08/2018 - 10:59

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Hello Sir Regarding my last question from you: 'Why each have not each has ' e,g. Perriss is in charge of 1000 man - hours ... Before I wrote to you I refered to OXFORD SENIOR LEARNERS DICTIONARY but I couldn't find the answer but just now I refered to CAMBRIDGE ONLINE DICTIONARY there I found the answer: when each followrs a plural subject the verb, nouns and pronuns are plural. In my question : ... a key team of four, who each have ... The writer used 'have' because of the phrase ' a key team of four' I am I correct ? Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

It is possible to use a singular or a plural verb after 'each'. If the noun following 'each' is singular, then a singular verb is used; if it is plural, then a plural verb is used:

each person was

each of the people were

 

In the example you quote, 'who each' refers back to the four people in the team, so a plural verb is used.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team