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 

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Submitted by rishi1234567 on Sat, 31/01/2015 - 09:11

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Sir , When I was talking to my tutor I told him,'' Sir , my friend suggests your name" for inauguration of my office. Is it correct or i should have to say "Sir , My friend have suggested your name" for inauguration of my office. Kindly suggest which one is correct. Regards

Submitted by Kirk on Sun, 01/02/2015 - 14:52

In reply to by rishi1234567

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Hello rishi,

In most contexts, the present perfect would probably be the most sensible choice. Please note, however, that the correct form would be 'My friend has suggested your name'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by rishi1234567 on Fri, 30/01/2015 - 11:43

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Sir , Our company's one of the supplier had provided quotation for the instrument....In that mail he says,"Dear sir, i hope this meets your requirement". ( How to know his intention behind writing in simple present ) Why he has not mentioned, "i Hope it will meet your requirement". Can you guide me on above query ? Thanking you for your continual support .

Submitted by Peter M. on Sat, 31/01/2015 - 11:07

In reply to by rishi1234567

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Hello rishi1234567,

After certain verbs, including 'hope', we often use a present tense rather than 'will'. It is possible to use 'will', but the meaning is different and suggests agreement:

I hope they visit us. [a hope about the future]

I hope they will visit us. [meaning 'be willing to' or 'agree to' visit]

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Engy_a on Sat, 24/01/2015 - 10:00

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Hello teacher I would like to as you when I use " ies , es , s ' in the end of the verb thanks in advance

Hello Engy_a,

The spelling rule for the third-person form of the present simple are:

  • when a verb ends in 'y' we use '-ies', unless the verb ends [vowel + y]:

study > he studies

but

play > he plays

  • ​when a verb ends in a soft sound ('sh', 'ch', or 'x')​ we often use '-es'

watch > he watches

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

 

 

Submitted by rishi1234567 on Sat, 10/01/2015 - 06:19

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Sir, Can you please explain diff between below sentences ? below sentences in I have read in the news paper with some context which has happened. They accepts responsibility. They have accepted responsibility. Thanking you

Submitted by Peter M. on Sun, 11/01/2015 - 13:07

In reply to by rishi1234567

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Hello rishi1234567,

The first sentence should read 'They accept' (without the 's').

The first sentence describes a state which is true now (they accept responsibility). The second sentence describes something which happened in the past (their decision to accept responsibility) and which is still true now (they have not changed their minds).

Both forms can be used to describe the same situation; the author can choose which he or she prefers. The first form is called the present simple and the second the present perfect. You can find more information on these forms in the verbs section of our grammar pages.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Dear Sir , You have written, ''The first sentence describes a state", why you have not mentioned, "The sentence have described"? Or "The first sentence described a state". Request you to extend your valuable support in my learning. Regards

Hello rishi,

Peter used the present simple tense ('describes') to speak about the sentence you were referring to because the sentence is still here on this page and was still the topic of discussion when he replied to you.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Aduc_140784 on Sat, 13/12/2014 - 13:36

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Hi teachers Why this sentences "My parents never fly,it"s too expensive" is correct? Not "flies"

Hello Aduc_140784,

The word 'parents' is plural (more than one). Therefore the verb must be 'fly'. If it was one 'parent' then it would be 'flies'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Karzan_Camus on Fri, 17/10/2014 - 20:21

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Hi teachers is it correct to say(i have spent a nice day with my friends)???

Hi Karzan_Camus,

That is correct, provided it is still the same day. If you want to say this the following day then you would use the past simple - I spent...

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Karzan_Camus on Thu, 16/10/2014 - 23:34

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Hello teachers. I have a question about adverbs of frequency with present simple, it is said the adverbs of frequency always go after verb to be, but i wonder whether this sentence correct or not if it is correct why and it it is not why?? the sentence says(she usually is late for school)please answer me as soon as possible???

Hello Karzan_Camus,

Word order in English is quite flexible and we can change the normal word order sometimes to, for example, emphasise certain parts of the sentence. However, there is a normal word order and, as you say, this means that adverbs of frequency come before the main verb but after the verb 'be'. Therefore the example you give should be:

She is usually late for school.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by tadveenridwan on Wed, 01/10/2014 - 08:49

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Hii, "The school term starts next week." here in this sentence why 'starts' not 'start'?

Hello tadveenridwan,

Third-person singular present simple forms end in '-s'. 'The school term' is singular and a third-person subject.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Peter, So, did you mean like this: - The party starts at 7 pm (singular and third-person subject) - The parties start at 7 pm (plural) Cheers

Hi yh24,

Yes, that's what Peter meant.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by rajeshbasvoju on Mon, 22/09/2014 - 08:04

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I have worked for karboon since 5 years or I have worked for karboon 5 years ago which sentence is the right one and why?
None of them you can use: I have worked for karboon since 2009 I have been working for karboon for 5 years I started working for karboon 5 years ago

Hello Lauren9413,

Thank you for your helpful answer. You are quite right.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello rajeshbasvoju,

I'm afraid neither of these sentences is correct. I think what you mean is 'I have worked for Karboon for five years' or 'I have worked for Karboon since five years ago'.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by zizo007 on Fri, 18/07/2014 - 16:01

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Hello teachers. Imagine this situation. I'm a football commentator. The palyer shooted and scored a goal. When I describe this situation, can I say 1. " the player shoots, he scores" or 2. " the player is shooting, he is scoring" After elapse of 20 min. Can I say 1. " he scored a goal 20 minutes ago" 2. " he has scored for 20 minutes " I think choice "1" is the right in both situations.

Hello zizo007,

You are correct: the first sentence is the right one in each case.

When commentating on a sports event we use the present simple, not the present continuous as we are describing the whole act (of the pass), not describing it while it is in process but not finished.

We use the past simple rather than the present perfect when there is a finished time reference.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by leonardo999 on Fri, 27/06/2014 - 23:44

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Hi teachers, could you tell me what is the difference between 1) I am always getting used to this kind of weathers. 2) I always get used to this kind of weathers. please explain it in detail with examples

Hi leonardo999,

I'm afraid neither of those sentences are correct. You can only get used to something once; after that, you are used to it. Therefore we would not use 'get used to' with 'always' in this way.  'Weather' is an uncountable noun, and so we would not use it in a plural form.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Okay, what if i correct both of them, could you tell me the difference between them? besides tell me where should i use "always" with " be or get used to". 1) I am getting used to this kind of weather. 2) I get used to this kind of weather. Anyway, thanks for the correction.

Hello leonardo999,

The difference between the sentences is the difference between the present simple (for repeated or typical actions) and the present continuous (for actions in progress at the moment of speaking). As I said in my first reply, 'get used to' is something that is really only done once; after that we are used to it and do not need to repeat the process. Therefore the second sentence is not one we would normally see.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M, that confuses me. You say "'get used to' is something that is really only done once". But as European, if I fly to a region with tropical weather condition, then I have to get used to this condition every single year again and again. And I also have to get used to the jet-lack again and again. What would you say instead of 'get used to'? Sorry for my english, I am sure I've made some mistakes but I hope you get me right. Best regards moox

Hello moox,

Yes, that is a good context for something which we might have to get used to more than once. Normally, we have a situation which is new and we must get used to it, such as a new job, a new colleague, a new town, a change in lifestyle etc. The process of getting used to it happens and then we are used to it and no longer need to get used to it. However, your context is a good one for something which we might need to get used to repeatedly as the 'new' situation is repeated. Usually we would use the continuous form as it is a process, and we would use the simple form only if we are reflecting on what is normal for us:

I get used to the weather very slowly every time I come here.

In this sentence we could use 'always' as a way of emphasising the point:

I always get used to the weather very slowly here.

We would not use 'always' with the continuous form, as in the original sentence.

I hope that clarifies it for you, and thank you for the useful context. By the way, the term is 'jet-lag', not 'jet-lack'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Peter M! Thank you very much for your explanation and your advice! Best regards moox
HI Peter M, Ultimately, by the help of the above factors am i allowed to use 1) I always get used to this kind of weather ( in case of repeated new situation). 2) I am getting used to this weather ( in case of new situation which can be used to only once)

Hello leonardo999,

The first sentence still sounds rather unnatural and needs some further information. For example, this may be how you get used to it (slowly, gradually, eventually, in the end, after some time etc.) or it may be a modal verb giving information about the process ('I can always get used to...', suggesting that it is not an easy process, or that not everyone can do it). Getting used to the weather is a normal, expected and almost inevitable process, and so without this information, the sentence does not really convey anything. It is similar to a sentence like 'My hair grows': we would not say this without some other information ('...more at the sides than on top' or '...very slowly these days').

Your second sentence describes a current ongoing situation. It may be repeated in the future and it may have happened before; we do not know from this sentence, which only describes the current situation.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nirav78 on Sun, 22/06/2014 - 15:56

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Krik Can we use s or es with our , your in simple present eg Our lives in danger or your lives in danger

Submitted by Peter M. on Mon, 23/06/2014 - 10:58

In reply to by nirav78

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Hello nirav78,

We can use 'your' with both singular and plural meaning, just as 'you' can be used to refer to both one person or more than one person.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Thankau peter Can u correct my following sentences of simple present 1 hear, the peon rings the bell. 2 our servant does much work.

Hello nirav78,

It's very hard to correct the first sentence without knowing the context.  The first word could be 'Listen', for example, but it could be something else in a different context. The word 'peon' is not really used in modern English and sounds very archaic. The correct verb may be any of 'rings', 'is ringing', 'rang' and 'was ringing'; without the context it is impossible to say.

The second sentence is correct, though we are likely to use 'a lot of' or 'a great deal of' instead of 'much'.  Generally, 'much' is used with negative verb forms and in questions, and is quite rare in positive statements.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by HA Qutub on Sat, 21/06/2014 - 00:46

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If I said ' do these jeans cost £25 ' is it considered right or wrong And how can we know when to use does or do while stating a questions or while talking mainly

Hello HA,

Yes, that is correct, though there should be a question mark (?) at the end. does is used for third person singular subjects (e.g. he, she, or it) and do is used for all other subjects (e.g. these jeans).

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by bashfaragay on Thu, 19/06/2014 - 09:10

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Sir why is present simple is used as future tense as in this sentense, The president leaves for england next week.

Hello bashfaragay,

When talking about the future we can use a range of forms and often the choice depends upon how the speaker sees a given action.  In this example, if the speaker sees the president's trip as a scheduled event, like a train following a timetable or a bus following its route, then we can use the present simple.  If the speaker saw it as a plan, then he or she could use 'going to' or the present continuous; if the speaker saw it as a sudden decision then he or she could use 'will'.  All of these are possible and would be correct; it's very much a question of the speaker's interpretation of the event.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by krishna0891 on Fri, 17/01/2014 - 16:38

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Sir,

don't we treat GOD as 3rd person singular?

Because we always say "God bless you", but not "God blesses you".

 

and I have come to know that the two pronunciations of "THE" (those pronunciations are THA, THI) have particular rules.

so, when do we need to pronounce as THA and when do we need to pronounce as THI?

Please explain them.

Thanks and Regards

Krishna

Submitted by Kirk on Sat, 18/01/2014 - 16:28

In reply to by krishna0891

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Hello krishna0891,

Grammatically, God works as any other noun, and so yes, God is considered as a third person singular subject. "God bless you", however, is grammatically correct in many contexts - this expression isn't used as a description of what God does, but is rather used to express the wish that God bless a person or people.

Most of the time, the is pronounced in the first way you mention. The second pronunciation you mention is often used when the following word begins with a vowel sounds (e.g. "the egg") or to emphasise or indicate something that is unique in some way.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Aukasha on Fri, 13/12/2013 - 22:01

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I don't know the score for each equations is different