You are here

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 


General doubt, not relevant to this page.
Sorry for that
The sentence is: the probability of two people drawn at random being able to have a conversation in their mother tongue was 0.5.
In terms of grammar, how is the " being able " acting in the sentence?
In my opinion: two people who are able is reduced to being able. Like who are contracted into being in this case. Is my explanation correct? If not, please explain me the manner in which "being able" is used in this context.

Hello Mussorie,

You're correct: the meaning of 'being able...' here is the same as 'who are able'. It has an adjectival function as it describes the noun phrase before it ('two people drawn at random').



The LearnEnglish Team

Could I know what is the difference or the meaning of the two sentences?
1.He has had a headache since last Monday.
2.He is to have had a headache.

Hello Mussorie,

The first sentence tells us that the person started having a headache last Monday and still has a headache at the time of speaking.

The second sentence does not make sense. You can use is to have done when you are giving a date by which something is to be completed, but this does not work with a headache as it is not something which we can control.



The LearnEnglish Team

Need help please
The boss isn’t available right now. He............. an important meeting.
a. has

b. is having

C has had
I think all options are right, what is your opinion , sir

Hi Rizk Hussein,

The first two options make sense. I would choose one of those two.

Option c is possible, but less likely. He has had an important meeting means that the meeting has finished by now, so he is not in the meeting now. But he may still be unavailable if, for example, the meeting was stressful and he needs time to relax because of it.


The LearnEnglish Team

Please reply, why can't we use has had in a different context like the meeting is continuing (because it started in past and continuing till the question being asked). That is the reason why he is not available. Can we assume in that sense?

Hello Mussorie,

We use the present perfect simple to talk about a finished event that has some connection to the present. Especially when it's a event like a meeting, it is clearly finished. For this reason, it's not appropriate in this context in which the meeting is over.

If the meeting is still happening when this question is asked, then I'd say 'He is in an important meeting'.

Hope this helps.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Could you please explain how the second option " is having " is valid in this context?
Because we don't use "having" ( stative verb) as in its continuous form. In this context, the meeting is not an experience right, then how can we use it. Please explain it.

Hi Mussorie,

The verb have has several meanings. The ‘possession’ meaning is stative, e.g.:

  • She has a big house. (She's having a big house.)
  • He has short hair. (He's having short hair.)

But have can also refer to doing an action, as in the examples below, and that’s why it possible (and common) to use it in continuous tenses:

  • I’m having a break.
  • She’s having a meeting.
  • They’re having lunch.
  • I was having a shower when you called.

Take a look at this page on Stative verbs for more explanation and examples of verbs with these two meanings. I hope it helps :)


The LearnEnglish Team