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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Submitted by vicanto on Wed, 20/02/2013 - 06:18

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Hello everyone.

Are there any negative form for questions in present simple?

Hello vicanto!

 

Yes, there are. They take the form Do/Doesn't + subject + verb object? - Don't you like chocolate?

They are less common as questions, and are usually used to show we are surprised or expecting a different answer.

Hope that helps!

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by kasia1820 on Tue, 12/02/2013 - 20:00

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Hello :)

I have one question. You wrote that we use present simple when something is fixed in the future.

The train leaves at 1945 this evening. - I understand that because we use present simple for schedules. 

But : We fly to Paris next week. I learned earlier, that in this case we use present continuous. So from my point of view it should be : We are flying to Paris next week.

Now I have problem which, simple or continuous should I use. :)

Hello Kasia,

I understand your confusion and I think it's based on a common misunderstanding about how verb forms work in English. Many learners think that the situation decides which tense to use, for example when we talk about something that is scheduled, we use the present simple.

In fact, it's more that the speaker chooses the form that best communicates the way they want to describe the situation. 'We fly to Paris next week' focuses on the fact that the flight is scheduled, but you could describe the same situation as 'We are flying to Paris next week' and the focus would be on the arrangement.

I hope that helps!

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by omega70 on Wed, 23/01/2013 - 20:47

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I get 75 at this exam

Submitted by muhammad idrees on Wed, 23/01/2013 - 12:41

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please share all that u have  for English learning

Submitted by rubito on Fri, 26/10/2012 - 00:11

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A cool site to learn and improve English skills :)

Submitted by ArniMusthofa on Mon, 01/10/2012 - 03:42

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Hello everyone,

I got an english test about two weeks ago and thank God I got very nice result. But there were some disputes when we were discussing about the answers of several questions.

 

Which one is right?

how many accidents do they happen tonight, or

how many accidents happen tonight.

Where is does math class take place, or

where is math class takes place?

(I took the first form as my best answer but my teacher didn't so it makes me confused until now)

 

Does intensity (always,never,seldom,etc) influence the verb? for example : she always miss her home.

My teacher took this answer and actually I didn't agree with it.

Thank you for helping me

How many accidents did happen tonight?

Where does the math class take place? (but to my mind better will be- Where is the math class?).

I hope, I helped you.

Submitted by Ashfaq Munir on Wed, 08/08/2012 - 07:50

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very nice exercise..!

 

Submitted by azeem.malik on Wed, 25/07/2012 - 07:47

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Nice site for learning English.

Submitted by Sandwich on Tue, 15/05/2012 - 18:39

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Hello every body! I live in ukraine but i want to study english! 

Submitted by M.MOHAN on Fri, 20/04/2012 - 11:56

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Nice exercise. Thanks BC.

Submitted by oomilla gundiria on Mon, 09/04/2012 - 15:47

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these lessons are very helpful.

 

Submitted by ashu.vedi on Sun, 05/02/2012 - 17:04

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Is there any Wordlist available then please give me the link for the page

Submitted by A R Bhat on Wed, 18/01/2012 - 13:28

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Hi,please provide a detailed chart of tenses,their usage and comparison and examples.I would be grateful to you.

Submitted by faredo on Tue, 10/01/2012 - 07:17

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Thank you British Council ...... but if we need more practising what can we do ????

Submitted by Narendranath B… (not verified) on Wed, 04/01/2012 - 12:13

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Happy new year everybody.In this year we will be able to learn more Grammar and Vocabulary using this web site and at the same time much more practice is required at home also.

                                                                  Thanking you everybody

Hello francini

Thanks for your comment. I just wanted to note that 'do' isn't an adverb here, though it does have a kind of adverbial function in that it modifies the main verb -- as you say, it is not expressing an action here.

All the best

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team