Present simple

Learn about the present simple and do the exercises to practise using it.

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 

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Submitted by Lal on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 12:33

Hello Sir Thank you very much for your prompt answer to questions with 'who' If I want to change this: who did the washing up? into the present tense is it all right to say 'who does the washing up?' But normally we don't use 'do', does with 'who' Please help me to understand this. Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

It is possible to make two different kinds of questions with 'who' (and with some other question words as well): subject questions and object questions. Subject question do not use an auxiliary verb while object questions do. For example:

Paul spoke to Sue.

Who spoke to Sue? (subject question)

Who did Paul speak to? (object question)


For more information and examples please see this page.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by boon tee on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 09:47

Hi there, I come across this sentence "But if you look at all the destructive extreme weather buffeting the world this summer alone, it’s as if Mother Nature were saying to us" question: if Mother Nature "were" or "are" saying to us? and why .. Thank you.

Hello boon tee,

The correct word here is 'were'. Nature is not saying anything, so it is clearly an imaginary situation.

The sentence is a complex one but it has a conditional structure: if you look, it is...

The rest is the complement of the verb 'is', and the 'as if' phrase is part of this.

In modern English you can use 'was' after 'if' (If I was / If I were) without changing the meaning.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sun, 19/08/2018 - 09:45

Hello Sir Re: questions with 'who' Is it wrong to say? Who does the wash up? Who did this? Please let me know? Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

The questions should be as follows:

Who did the washing up?

Who did it? / Who did this?



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Sat, 18/08/2018 - 10:36

Hello Sir Re: each + singular verb/plural verb Please let me know whether these sentences are correct or not. Each year trees shed their leaves. Each boy and girl has a laptop. Each and every boy has a laptop. Thank you. Regards Lal

Submitted by Lal on Wed, 15/08/2018 - 09:11

Hello Sir Thank you very much for your answer to my question 'Do you live in a house or a flat?' Now it is very clear. Thank you again. Regards Lal

Submitted by Lal on Mon, 13/08/2018 - 10:54

Hello Sir Do you live in a house or a flat? In the above sentence: 'in' after 'or' is not written. Is it not necessary to write or is it understood? For e.g. Do you live in a house or in a flat? Please let me know. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

You can omit the second 'in' here. We often omit repeated words. For example, all of the following are grammatically correct:

Do you live in a house or do you live in a flat?

Do you live in a house or live in a flat?

Do you live in a house or in a flat?

Do you live in a house or a flat?

Do you live in a house or flat?



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Lal on Tue, 07/08/2018 - 10:59

Hello Sir Regarding my last question from you: 'Why each have not each has ' e,g. Perriss is in charge of 1000 man - hours ... Before I wrote to you I refered to OXFORD SENIOR LEARNERS DICTIONARY but I couldn't find the answer but just now I refered to CAMBRIDGE ONLINE DICTIONARY there I found the answer: when each followrs a plural subject the verb, nouns and pronuns are plural. In my question : ... a key team of four, who each have ... The writer used 'have' because of the phrase ' a key team of four' I am I correct ? Thank you. Regards Lal

Hello Lal,

It is possible to use a singular or a plural verb after 'each'. If the noun following 'each' is singular, then a singular verb is used; if it is plural, then a plural verb is used:

each person was

each of the people were


In the example you quote, 'who each' refers back to the four people in the team, so a plural verb is used.



The LearnEnglish Team


Submitted by Lal on Tue, 07/08/2018 - 09:10

Hello Sir I would like to know why the writer has used 'have' instead of 'has' in the sentence given below. Normaly I use singular verb with each, every, either, neither. Perriss is in charge of 1,000 man hours a week across the store. To help him, he has a key team of four, who 'each have' direct responsibility for different departments. My question: please let me know why 'each have' not 'each has' Thank you. Regards Lal

Submitted by QaaZee on Sat, 09/06/2018 - 21:12

Hi, I am bit confused about the below statements, which one is correct/more suitable: 1) The school holidays start on June 21st. 2)The school holidays will start on June 21st. Thanking you in advance...
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Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 10/06/2018 - 07:05

In reply to by QaaZee


Hi QaaZee,

Both forms are possible. The present simple (start) can be used because the school holidays are a scheduled event. The modal verb will can be used because the speaker is talking about a future which is definite.

There are other possible reasons for the use of will. For example, the speaker may have just decided when the school holidays will start. The context is unknown, so we can only speculate which form would be better. Without any context to guide us, we can only say that both are possible.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zghoul on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 19:08

hi.... which one is correct and the difference between them if want to talk about my self : 1) iam studying computer engineering 2) i study computer engineering with explain please

Hi zghoul,

Generally speaking, we use continuous forms when an action is incomplete, in progress or temporary.


In this case the first sentence tells us that either the speaker is in the process of studying computer engineering right now (they could be preparing for a test on this subject, for example) or the speaker is a student of this subject but sees it as a temporary situation. For example, they might say I'm studying computer engineering at the moment, but soon I'll finish my studies and find a job.


We use simple forms when something is seen as a permanent situation which we do not expect to change in the near future. A person might say this when they are a student and will remain a student for the foreseeable future, or if they are a researcher whose profession is the study of a certain topic.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by SahilK on Mon, 29/01/2018 - 17:50

Hello, Sir which sentence is correct: 1) Words that confuse you the most. 2) Words which confuse you the most. And what is the correct usage of "which" and "that" ? Thank you in advance
Profile picture for user Peter M.

Submitted by Peter M. on Tue, 30/01/2018 - 08:17

In reply to by SahilK


Hello SahilK,

Both 'that' and 'which' can be used here. These are examples of relative pronouns which are used in relative clauses. You can use 'that' to refer to people and things. You can use 'which' to refer only to things ('who' is used to refer to people). 'Which' can be used in defining and non-defining relative clauses while 'that' can only be used in defining relative clauses.

You can read more about relative pronouns and relative clauses on these pages:

relative pronouns

relative clauses

defining relative clauses

non-defining relative clauses


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by khmsayush on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 11:06

Consider this sentence: "They usually pay the bills on time." In the Exercise the correct answer is : Happens again and again. But from the word "usually" we can conclude that it is true for most of the time but not always. So the answer should be True in the present. Please can anyone explain me why am I wrong ??

Hello khmsayush,

The idea here is that the people pay the bills on a fixed schedule. Sometimes they are late, but it implies they pay each time they need to. It's not true in the present, because it's not really speaking about the present -- it's speaking about the schedule. The payment is something that happens regularly, i.e. again and again.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

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


The LearnEnglish Team