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 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 5

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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

Hello Andrzej93,

Both the present simple and present continuous can be used with future meaning. We use the present simple to describe actions which are part of a timetable or fixed schedule. You might use your first question if the person being asked had a fixed work schedule and could check what work they had been assigned.

We use the present continuous to describe arrangements, usually made by ourselves. You might use the second question to ask about a person's strong plans for the next week, for example.

You can read more about these forms and other ways of talking about the future on this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M,
Thank You very much for your explanation.
Best wishes,
Andrzej93

Hi Dear,

I have one question. Present simple is used for permanent works like : I go to work everyday.

But when we use sometimes it has a conflict with the meaning of permanent.

Would you please explain?

Thanks

Hello Anabel15,

In your example 'sometimes' does not tell us that an act is temporary but rather tells us about the frequency of the activity, just like 'every day'. 

The preset simple describes actions which are typical or normal for a given actor. They may not be permanent. For example, I might say 'My son goes to school at 7.00 in the morning". This is not permanent - he will stop going to school when he reaches a certain age - but it is typical of him and part of his normal routine so the present simple is used.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello!
I need some help in this sentence:
Why...(you/wear) your coat today? It's very warm.
What should I put in this sentence: present simple or present continuous?

Thank you for your help.

Hello WhiteCollar,

When we speak about the clothes we have on at the time of speaking (not habits), we use a continuous form. So here the present continuous is the correct form.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr. Kirk,
Thank You for your answer.
As I know: the present progressive is used to refer to events which are in progress or happening at the moment of speaking.
In the sentence we only know that someone wore a coat. And also we know that it happened today. We see only result of the action which happened in the past. Maybe it's a present perfect. We use present continuous only for description something in motion at the moment of speaking, don't we?

Thank You for help.

Hello WhiteCollar,

The most likely form here is the present continuous, based on the assumption that the person is still wearing the coat when the comment is made. Past simple is also possible, though unlikely as the comment about the temperature (it's very warm) uses a present form. Present simple is not correct here because the action is 'tody', not something which is generally true.

 

The present perfect is unlikely as it would suggest a present result of an earlier action. We might use present perfect with a different verb, such as 'put on' (Why have you put on that coat?), where there is a result of an action. However, this does not really work with the verb 'wear'. If the person looks hot and uncomfortable then we would use the verb 'put on'. We would use 'wear' only if we were referring to other people's reactions as the present result: Why have you worn that? People are laughing at you. However, even here 'put on' is much more likely. I think that in English we see the decision to choose a particular item which is the cause, not the actual wearing.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M,

Thank You very much for your explanation.

Best wishes,
WhiteCollar

Hello,

I heard this conversation today and was wondering about present simple use here:

(John to Jack on a phone) ''Ask him if he is mister Smith''

(Jack to Brian) ''Are you mister Smith?''

(Brian to Jack) ''Yes, I am.''

(Jack to John on the phone)''He says he is.''

Why isn't ''said'' used there? Could it mean as present perfect is used when something's just happened and the time gone is very little?

Thank you.

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