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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

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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 

Basic level

Comments

I wake up at six o' clock or i wake everyday at six o' clock......
Are these sentences correct?

Hello Rashid ali,

Yes, those sentences are grammatically correct and describe typical or normal behaviour. I think 'wake up' is much more common in modern English, but both are possible.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

How can i use present simple for commentaries even that action is in progress?

Hello Rashid ali,

You can hear this use of the present simple if you watch a sporting event with English language commentary. The commentators describe the action using the present simple:

Jones passes to Smith. Smith runs and shoots. He scores!

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please tell me why in the sentence,, I was walking down the street the other day when suddenly this man comes up" past continuous is used at first and then present simple? Would it be correct if I said, I am walking down the street...."?

Hi Zuzanna,

It's an interesting question! When telling a story, we use the present simple for a particular effect: to give the listener a sense that the story events are happening right now, in front of the listener. It makes the storytelling more interesting and engaging.

 

So, what about the sentence you mention? The use of the past continuous shows that this action (walking down the street) is only a background context for the story. It's not a main event of the story, so it doesn't need the special effect that the present simple brings. The main events begin with suddenly this man comes up to me ... and the use of the present simple. 

 

So, you could use I am walking ... , but only if this action is a main event of the story and you want to draw the listener's attention and interest to it.

 

Does that make sense?

Jonathan

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, is it possible to say Present simple and past simple in one sentence? For example “your presentation was great. You seem to have a good understanding of the subject, and you succeeded in getting the attention of the audience”.

Hi Tinnycool,

Yes, it's perfectly fine to use two different tenses like that, provided one action/state is a present (or general) action/state and the other is past.

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

It says We use the present simple to talk about fixed in the future.
Then,
When does this show end?
Or
When will this show end?
Does the meaning change?
Can I use both?
Thank a lot.

 

Hello DaniWeebKage,

In this context both are possible.

 

The present simple is used for future time when events are regular or part of a schedule. It is similar to asking 'What time is the show supposed to/meant to finish?'

The modal verb will is used for predictions of particular events. It is similar to asking 'What time do you think/expect the show to finish?'

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

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