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

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTYyNjY=

Present simple questions 2

GapFillTyping_MTYyNjc=

Present simple questions 3

ReorderingHorizontal_MTYyNjg=

Present simple questions 4

GapFillTyping_MTYyNjk=

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

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTYyNzE=

Present simple negatives 2

GapFillTyping_MTYyNzI=

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

MultipleChoice_MTYyNDA=

Present simple 2

GapFillTyping_MTYyNDE=

Present simple 3

GapFillTyping_MTY2MzY=

Present simple 4

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTYyNTg=

Present simple 5

GapFillTyping_MTYyNjE=

Present simple 6

GapFillDragAndDrop_MTYyNjM=

Present simple 7

GapFillTyping_MTYyNjQ=

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 

Take your language skills and your career to the next level
Get unlimited access to our self-study courses for only £5.99/month.

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 25/02/2017 - 10:15

In reply to by loida

Permalink

Hello loida,

That sentence is not grammatically correct in standard British English. You can say 'aggravated' but need a different preposition ('I am aggravated with narrow-minded people'). Also, note that 'aggravate' is often used as a verb: 'Narrow-minded people aggravate me'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by loida on Fri, 24/02/2017 - 18:29

Permalink
hi sir i want to improve my english grammer

Hello again loida,

We have some advice on how to use our site for different purposes, including improving your grammar, on our Frequently asked questions page. I would particularly recommend working through Elementary Podcasts. I'd start with series 3 episode 1. Listen to the episode a couple of times - don't worry if you don't understand everything. Then listen again while reading the transcript. Search for new vocabulary in the dictionary and then do the exercises. Listen again and record vocabulary that is useful for you in a notebook, and practise pronouncing the words and phrases that you think could be useful in your speaking.

If you work this way, it will take a few hours to complete an episode, which can feel a bit slow, but you will learn a lot, including grammar, as you will see how it is used in real situations and do exercises to help with it as well.

Good luck!

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Shelia Mhmd on Tue, 31/01/2017 - 07:55

Permalink
Hi Sir, could you explain why we use present simple for something that is fixed in the future and don't use future tense ? thank you

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 31/01/2017 - 13:42

In reply to by Shelia Mhmd

Permalink

Hello Shelia Mhmd,

It does seem strange at first, doesn't it? This is just the way English has come to be used by its native speakers over time. If you haven't already seen them, our talking about the future and Future plans pages give a useful summary of the main tenses that you can use to talk about the future. Perhaps seeing them all together will help.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Jarek_O on Thu, 26/01/2017 - 18:22

Permalink
Hello, Could you please elaborate a bit more or refer to a valid external resource about when we can skip do and does in questions? I'm curious about the rules for sentences with no auxiliary verbs like in questions starting with Who... And a second question, is it always no do or does with who? What about: Who do you know? Is it correct?

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 27/01/2017 - 09:57

In reply to by Jarek_O

Permalink

Hello Jarek_O,

It would be helpful to include an example with your question as I'm not entirely sure if I've understood correctly. I guess that what you are referring to is this type of question:

Who killed the bear?

as opposed to this type of question:

Who did the bear kill?

The reason for the different structures here is that the first question is asking about the subject of the verb ('a subject question') while the second is asking about the object ('an object question'). You can read more about these alternatives on this page.

The sentence

Who do you know?

is perfectly fine. It is an object question. You can make a subject question also:

Who knows you?

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Peter, that is the answer I've been looking for :)

Submitted by Daniel H on Sat, 14/01/2017 - 17:28

Permalink
Hello, good day. I was wondering wich one of these is correct: I have just started the process to obtain the bachelor's degree or I have just started the process to obtain bachelor's degree Do I have to use the article "the"? Could I say "My bachelor's degree"? Thank you so much.

Hello Daniel H,

Neither of these are correct, I'm afraid! You could use 'my' or an indefinite article:

I have just started the process of obtaining a bachelor's degree.

I have just started the process of obtaining my bachelor's degree.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Masabest on Fri, 13/01/2017 - 20:36

Permalink
Hi sir I would like to know if -per-can be used in this sentence Millions of tourists visit London per year. And if so can we ask How often do tourists visit London? And is per synonym to every Thanks alot.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 14/01/2017 - 07:45

In reply to by Masabest

Permalink

Hi Masabest,

'Per' is not incorrect here but the most common words for this sentence would be 'every' or 'each':

Millions of tourists visit London every year.

Millions of tourists visit London each year.

'Per' is generally used in formal business contexts, especially in the phrase 'per annum'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pumbi on Wed, 28/12/2016 - 04:49

Permalink
Hi Sir ; Could you please give some examples for the following.I am not clear about the usage of "also". Scenarios : "aslo" can be used to modify verb , noun , adjective and adverb ?. Thanks.

Submitted by Peter M. on Wed, 28/12/2016 - 07:45

In reply to by pumbi

Permalink

Hi Hasipumba,

We are happy to provide explanations of what we have on our own pages and, where possible, to answer specific questions on how English works. However, we do not comment on material from elsewhere, such as the description you quote.

You can find examples of 'also' on any dictionary site. For example:

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/also

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/also?s=t

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/also

If you have any questions about specific examples then we can try to help you.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pumbi on Tue, 27/12/2016 - 15:34

Permalink
Hi Sir ; Now can be used with present simple tense ? . Ex : I live in New York now . At the moment and now are used for continuous tense. So is it correct with grammar rule ?

Hello Hasipumba,

Yes, 'now' can be used with both present simple and present continuous tenses. Most time expressions can be used in more than one context. If you look up 'now' in the dictionary, you'll see other examples of how it is used.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Omobola on Sat, 10/12/2016 - 00:51

Permalink
Please fellow linguists, what can you say about this statements, are the correct in their usage? 1. Why don't you ask him. 2. Why didn't you ask him?

Submitted by sharmaswati on Wed, 16/11/2016 - 17:58

Permalink
hello sir/madam please tell me which sentence is right and why? can you tell me why did you not speak the truth? or can you tell me why did you not speak the truth?

Hello sharmaswati,

I think you that made a mistake in your post - the two alternatives are the same!

However, I think I can guess what you meant. You have here an example of an indirect question. The direct question would be Why did you not speak the truth? 

However, when the question is indirect we do not use question word order and so when the question is inside a request (Can you tell me...) we use regular word order. Therefore the correct answer is

Can you tell me why you did not speak the truth?

As an aside, while it is possible to say 'speak the truth' the more common form is 'tell the truth'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by LynnWang2016 on Sat, 12/11/2016 - 14:48

Permalink
What about 'Future tense' ? I am confused here it says there are only two tenses. Past and Present.

Hello LynnWang,

A tense is a form of the verb which refers to time, and English has only two of these: the past (looked, was, saw) and what is usually called the present (look/looks, was/were, see/sees). In some analyses instead of present the term 'non-past' is used, to reflect the wide range of meanings possible.

What is sometimes called the future tense is in fact not a tense at all. 'Will' is not a verb tense but a modal verb, similar to 'should', 'must', 'can' and so on - all of which can refer to future time. Other forms used to talk about the future are also not future tenses: we use present continuous, present simple, 'going to' and others.

In other words, English has tenses for past time and present time, and has a range of options for describing future time, but no future tense.

For more information about talking about the future in English see this page.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SK on Thu, 29/09/2016 - 10:11

Permalink
Hello there, Please can you tell me which of the following sentence is correct? Or both of them are correct: I am on holiday next week I will be on holiday next week As it will happen in the future, I think the second sentence is correct, but sometimes I notice that people say 'I am on holiday next week.' Please help! Further, If I want to ask someone if they will have their lunch in kitchen. Should I say 'Are you lunching in the kitchen? or 'will you be lunching in the kitchen? Kind Regards, SK

Hello SK,

Yes, all of those sentences are correct. Our talking about the future page discusses how different forms are used to speak about the future in different ways. 

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Selenia K on Fri, 23/09/2016 - 10:55

Permalink
Dear sir, I'm not sure I understand something. You are using the adverb always both with simple present and present continuous: I play football every weekend. We use words like sometimes, often. always, and never (adverbs of frequency) with the present tense: And on the next page there are these examples: for something which happens again and again: It’s always raining in London. They are always arguing. George is great. He’s always laughing. I don't understand the difference Thanks in advance

Hello Selenia,

It's great that you noticed this! Adverbs of frequency are most often used with verbs in the present simple, as they describe things that happen regularly, i.e. with a certain frequency.

The adverb of frequency 'always' (only 'always', not so much the others) can also be used with the present continuous to talk about things that happen again and again. It can also sometimes communicate a sense that it is too much. For example, if I say 'It's always raining!', it can mean I think it's raining too much. Note that 'always' + present continuous does not always communicate the idea of 'too much' – for example, in 'George is great. He's always laughing.' I like the fact that George laughs a lot.

I hope this helps you.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SatyaD on Fri, 26/08/2016 - 18:56

Permalink
Dear sir kindly clarify me, It looks that it may rain ( is it a correct sentence or I use "It is looking that it may rain" what is the difference between the two sentence )

Hello SatyaD,

I'm afraid that is not a correct sentence. We can say the following, with no difference in meaning:

It looks like it might rain.

It looks like it may rain.

It is possible to say 

It's looking like it might rain.

It's looking like it may rain.

The suggestion here is that the appearance is temporary: a short time before it probably did not look so likely, for example.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pallawi on Fri, 26/08/2016 - 04:59

Permalink
FILL IN THE BLANKS USING SIMPLE PRESENT OR CONTINUOUS TENSE 1.INDIA .............(PLAY)AUSTRALIA IN TODAYS FINAL. 2.I SHALL TELL HIM THE NEWS AS SOON AS I ...............(SEE)HIM 3.THE TWO PRESIDENTS ........(MEET).FOR TALKS LATER THIS AFTERNOON 4.WE............(BUILD)A SHED NEXT TO OUR HOUSE.WE ..........(WANT) A PLACE TO KEEP THE COW. 5.I.........(DO) MY HOMEWORK JUST NOW .I.....(DO) IT EVERYDAY.

Hello pallawi,

I'm afraid we don't provide an answering service for homework or other tasks from elsewhere. We can help with questions about the material we have on our own pages, but we don't do exercises for users from elsewhere.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by pyramid on Wed, 27/07/2016 - 08:17

Permalink
dear sir/madam, we use do/does/did to emphasize on positive sentences in present simple and past simple eg. i write .......... i do write he writes .......he does write when we use the verb DO are following sentences correct? ----------------------------------- i do...........i do do he does .........he does do ----------------------------------- when we use simple past we use did to emphasize on positive sentences eg. i went ................i did go he had...............he did have are following sentences correct? i did..........i did do it did .........it did do please help
is it also applied to have, as it follows: im nineteen years old >> i have nineteen years old ???
Can you give more specific sentences. It's hard to understand what you are talking.

Submitted by Ice on Sat, 23/07/2016 - 14:02

Permalink
"Does Jack play football?" Jack is 3rd person used does,I understood. But this sentence"Do Rita and Angela live in Manchester?"Rita and Angela I think is 3rd person ,why this sentence used do not does? In my mind (she/he/it/name)are third person,is it correct?

Hello Ice,

The subject in the sentence is 'Rita and Angela', which describes two people. Therefore it is a plural subject and needs a plural verb. If we replaced 'Rita and Angela' with a pronoun we would use 'they'.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SK on Mon, 18/07/2016 - 16:14

Permalink
Hello, The following example from the above exercise: 'The President speaks to the nation at 4p.m.' If I say 'The President will speak to the nation at 4 p.m.' Will it be grammatically correct? As we are talking about a future event, adding 'will' should be okay. Please let me know. Kind Regards, SK

Submitted by Kirk on Tue, 19/07/2016 - 06:07

In reply to by SK

Permalink

Hello SK,

Yes, the sentence with 'will' is also correct. Note that we use many different tenses to talk about the future even though many of them are not called 'future'.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mahdi123 on Sun, 10/07/2016 - 07:58

Permalink
Hello Why we don't write lives instead of live in my parents live in a very small flat Also takes instead of take in the Olympic Games take place every four years Thank you in advance

Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 10/07/2016 - 13:38

In reply to by Mahdi123

Permalink

Hello Mahdi,

The 's' is only added to the verb when the subject is in the third person singular. 'Olympic Games' and 'my parents' are both third person plural.

All the best,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by learnfromgopal on Sun, 10/07/2016 - 06:36

Permalink
Hi team, can you please explain the following examples 1.they work in livepool 2. they do not work at the weekend Here "they" is third person but why not used "s" and "does"??

Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 10/07/2016 - 13:29

In reply to by learnfromgopal

Permalink

Hello learnfromgopal,

Only the third person singular forms ('he', 'she' and 'it) take the final 's' or 'does'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Priya goel on Sat, 04/06/2016 - 15:37

Permalink
Hello. Can you please help me to understand, when can we use 'is' and 'does' in question form? Regards Priya

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 05/06/2016 - 05:39

In reply to by Priya goel

Permalink

Hello Priya,

We have explanations of this on several of our pages:

this page deals with question forms and auxiliary verbs

this page deals with question forms, including when to use do/does/did

this page deals with question words, and when to use different ones

this page deals with question forms, including when to use do/does/did

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by chedD1t on Fri, 03/06/2016 - 13:56

Permalink
Hello! Can we use the Present Simple Tense in the sentense below : ~Gary has travelled a lot. He can speak five languages.~ ~Gary travells a lot.He can speak five languages.~ I guess in the first one Gary was travelling before ,also he is travelling around now and perhaps his travellng is still not over yet.In the second one Gary just travells,he likes doing it ,it's just a fact about him.

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 05/06/2016 - 06:03

In reply to by chedD1t

Permalink

Hello chedD1t,

Both of those sentences are correct (though 'travels' in the second sentence has only one L).

The present perfect describes his experience in his life up to now. It does not tell us whether or not he will continue travelling in the future, but merely his experience to date and the result of that experience.

The present simple tells us that travelling is Gary's typical behaviour and therefore we understand that this is true of his past, present and future - it is a part of his life, not just a description of his experience so far.

 

Best wishes,

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by debjyotiroy31 on Sun, 29/05/2016 - 16:29

Permalink
Hi Peter / Kirk, Please help me in understanding the below rule of present tense. For the third person present tense base for : "But the third person (she/he/it) adds an -s: She works in London." To the contrary when we are questioning we are not adding an -S to the base form -- " Where does he come from? " or "Do Rita and Angela live in Manchester?" Regards, Debjyoti.