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 zagrus on Wed, 06/11/2013 - 18:52

Permalink
Hello, I am confused about the exact usages of the tenses talking about fixed or planned future. The present simple and the present simple contineous are both used to talk about future plans. For example, what is the difference between:" the train is leaving at 7 a.m tomorrow"and "the train leaves at 7a.m tomorrow" could you Tell me the reason why one them is wrong in case there is a mistake. Thanks in advance

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 08/11/2013 - 20:29

In reply to by zagrus

Permalink

Hello zagrus,

The various future forms in English have meanings that overlap quite a lot, and it is not unusual for more than one form to be possible in one context.

The two forms you are asking about are the present continuous and the present simple.  Typically, the present continuous is used to talk about the future when there is a strong or fixed arrangement (as contrasted with 'going to', which may be just a plan in someone's head), and the present simple is used for regular timetabled events.  I think you can probably see that a train leaving the station could be seen as either of these, depending on what the speaker prefers to emphasise.  In other words, both of these sentences are possible in this context, and neither is incorrect.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello, You said we use the present contineous when talking about fixed arrangements or when there is a strong evidence that something is going to happen. I didnt get it well, so can you please explain more by giving some examples

Submitted by Kirk on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 13:55

In reply to by zagrus

Permalink

Hi zagrus,

Could you please ask this question on our present continuous page or talking about the future page? It's just that we'd like your question and our answer to be useful for other users who have the same question.

In fact, you might find the answer to your question on one of those pages!

Thanks.

Best wishes,

Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sanya1211 on Tue, 01/10/2013 - 15:44

Permalink

question 11 "They work in Liverpool."why it's work not works?

 

Hi Sanya1211,

In the present simple, works is the third person singular (he, she, it) form and work is the form for all other persons and numbers (I, you, we, they). Therefore, the correct verb form is work.

Best wishes,

Kirk

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by mohammedeng on Fri, 30/08/2013 - 21:38

Permalink

Hi The Learn English Team

I got some confused about this sentence and I need your help.

(He never drinks beer) I think this sentence should be under always true but the right answer was happens again and again .could you explain to me that please.

Regard,

Hello Mohammedeng!

 

That's a common question! You can see my answer to another learner here. The important thing is to remember to use the present tense for this kind of question.

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by porsa3idy on Thu, 29/08/2013 - 11:04

Permalink

hello i want to ask why we say , We fly to Paris next week

but we dont say , we are flying? or we will fly? what is the deferent?

Hello porsa3idy,

All of those alternatives are possible.  In general:

 

  • we use the present simple to talk about the future when it is a regular timetabled event, such as a train or flight departure
  • we use the present continuous to talk about arrangements in the future
  • we use 'will' to express decisions and our own predictions

 

You can find more information on different ways of talking about the future here.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Abdorawa on Mon, 12/08/2013 - 15:03

Permalink
My question is that:you said we fly to paris next week,why not? We shall have flied to paris next week.And what are differences?

Hello Abdorawa,

You can see the answer to the first part of your question on this page ('something that is fixed in the future').  The second part of your question asks about 'shall have', and I answered this same question on another page for you (on a page about the present continuous).  If you look there, you'll find the answer.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by aannezumi on Tue, 16/07/2013 - 03:52

Permalink

hello,,, can anybody help to teach me? thz.

 

Submitted by dhruv123 on Tue, 09/07/2013 - 21:47

Permalink

in sentence "the train leaves at 10.30 this morning". why we write leaves why not leave ??

Submitted by badr2 on Sat, 29/06/2013 - 20:32

Permalink

no one replied to my question  

Submitted by badr2 on Sat, 29/06/2013 - 09:02

Permalink

who has an idea about teaching through games

Hello badr2,

I think that's a question best asked on our sister-site for teachers:

http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Mydearfriend73 on Thu, 20/06/2013 - 23:55

Permalink
Can anyone comments on my sentences below, 1) John, as well as Joe like football. 2) John and Joe like football. 3) Both of them like football. 4) Either John or Joe likes football. 5) Either John or Joe's friends like football. 6) Neither John nor Joe likes football. 7) Neither John nor Joe's friends like football. 8) One of Joe's friends likes football. 9) Joe, with his friends like football. 10) Everyone in the class like football. 11) No one in the class like football. Any problems with the above sentences in term of Singular or Plural Verb of "like". Can someone explains? Millions Thanks in advance
Hello BC team, Can anybody help. I have submitted some questions but still not being answer yet.

Hello,

I'm afraid your expectations are a little high! You've been a member of LearnEnglish for five days and in that time you've left seven comments with questions - some of them quite complex like the one above with eleven sentences. One of your questions has been answered - Peter wrote nearly 300 words which I think is a pretty good free service.

We are a small team at LearnEnglish, trying to help millions of users and so we can't answer every question, although we try. We certainly can't always answer questions quickly - if you need a service like that, you probably need to pay a teacher or linguist!

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Hi Adam, Thanks & appreciate for the reply. I'm really sorry for my reckless and promise will be more careful & patience toward this kind of situation. Please accept my apology.

Hi,

No need to apologise - I was just explaining the situation. We're very happy to have you on LearnEnglish and I think some more of your questions have been answered since my last comment.

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team

Dear Mydearfriend73, your comment posted long time ago but it is interesting and I have noticed some mistakes that I think you made. The last two sentences need to be in third person because "everyone, no one, etc" are threated as singular". There are exceptions, but grammatically is singular verb used. I think the following sentences are correct: 10. Everyone in the class likes football. 11. No one in the class likes football. If I am wrong, I hope teacher corrects me.

Submitted by Nomi221 on Tue, 18/06/2013 - 09:20

Permalink

John doesn’t live in Manchester.
Angela doesn’t drive to work.

and my question is that As you stated that

The present tense is the base form of the verb: I work in London.
But the third person (she/he/it) adds an -s: She works in London.

then why you did'nt add S with Live and drive in the above examples.

Please clarify it also please,,, I am waiting for the answers of both of my questions please Help.

Hello Nomi221,

The two sentences you quote are negative sentences and we form these using an auxiliary verb (do/does) + not + the base form of the verb.

If you look at the auxiliary verb you'll see that it is a 3rd-person form (doesn't), and that is where the '-s' appears.  Remember:

  • in positive sentences, we add '-s' to the verb
  • in negative sentences (and questions) we use a 3rd-person auxiliary and the base form.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Nomi221 on Tue, 18/06/2013 - 08:00

Permalink

If we look at the Questions and negatives !

(1)Does Jack play football?

and

(2)Do Rita and Angela live in Manchester?

now in the First sentence Jack is third person that is why Does came in the first But in the second one why do came with Rita And Angela ?

Please Do clarify it to me please!

 

Hello Nomi 221,

In the second sentence we have two people - Rita and Angela - so we treat it as 'they' and use 'do' and not 'does'.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by noebibin on Fri, 31/05/2013 - 15:19

Permalink

Hello everyone. Please help.

In this sentence "he never drinks beer" ,why not "drink"?

Thanks.

its because . he/she/it are third person singular. so we have to add "s" to the main verb. e.g. 1=he plays 2 = it runs 3= she goes to school at 8.30 am

 

I Hope You understand

Thanks suresh143143.

Then can you help me. What's the difference between I feel hungry and I am feeling hungry? Thanks before.

Hello noebibin,

It’s a good question and the answer is that there is really no difference. ‘Feel’ can be a stative verb or a dynamic verb (click for information about stative verbs), which means it can be simple (“I feel”) or continuous (“I’m feeling”) and the meaning doesn’t change.

You can find an exercise on stative verbs here.

Best wishes

Peter
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Fachrudin Ar Razie on Thu, 25/04/2013 - 01:01

Permalink

thanks a lot ...

Submitted by jratkai on Mon, 25/03/2013 - 23:32

Permalink

Sorry to correct again. A language teacher does not have to know science, (s)he is good at sg else. You are much better in English than me.

But if you want a quality website, I propose to change "Light travels at almost 300,000 kilometres per second." to "Light travels at almost 300,000 kilometres per second in vacuum.". Because the speed of photons is not constant, but changes when they light enters into a different kind of matter. Moreover, "Light of different frequencies may travel through matter at different speeds; this is called dispersion. In some cases, it can result in extremely slow speeds of light in matter."

Hello jratkai!

 

Thank you for another interesting comment! However, this website is written for English learners, and is not intended as a scientific reference; the page demonstrates features of English grammar. The detail you add is not really suitable for many of our learners, and, as I suggest in answer to your comment below, the statement itself is not exactly wrong.

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jratkai on Mon, 25/03/2013 - 23:17

Permalink

Wrong example: "something that is always true:

The human body contains 206 bones."

"At birth, there are over 270 bones in an infant human's body, but many of these fuse together as the child grows, leaving a total of 206 separate bones in an adult."

cf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone

Hello jratkai, again!

 

Well, it's not exactly wrong, since in statements like these you are assumed to be talking about a standard, fully developed body - someone who has lost a limb will have fewer bones, for example, but this does not invalidate the statement. Qualifying every single statement can lead to a lot of repetition and unnecessary detail, and in different circumstances, (as, for example, on an English language web page rather than in an encyclopaedia) different degrees of accuracy are needed. I have, however, edited the page to add the word adult.

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jratkai on Mon, 25/03/2013 - 23:09

Permalink

Instead of "We use words like sometimes, often. always, and never (adverbs of frequency) with the present tense:" should not you write

"We use words like sometimes, often. always, and never (adverbs of frequency) with the simple forms in any tense:"?

Hello jratkai!

 

Thanks for your comment. This is true, but the page is about the present simple, not adverbs of frequency generally.

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by paperinique on Thu, 21/03/2013 - 21:57

Permalink

hello, I'm Fabio i have some doubt about the right answer to "he never drinks beer" sentence in 10/12 question of present tense's exercise.....you indicate "happens again and  again" while I have answered "always true", my doubt is about  "never", I have thought that it means an action always done and so, always true......it's wrong?

thanks in advance..:)

Hello paperinique!

 

I can understand your confusion. Here, though, it's still an action, not a fact like Monday is the first day of the week. Think of it as meaning He doesn't drink beer. Offer him a beer on Monday, he says no. Offer him a beer on Tuesday, he says no. Offer him a beer on Wednesday, he says no ... As you can see, it's an action that happens again and again! I shouldn't worry too much about it though - the important thing is to use present tenses for a statement like that.

 

Regards

 

Jeremy Bee

The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Spirtyganoff on Sat, 16/03/2013 - 15:12

Permalink

Thank God! i've understood Pr.Simple! Now I'll start Continuous form... 

Submitted by rahf on Sat, 23/02/2013 - 19:58

Permalink

Hello

I have a question,

the school terms starts next week

the school terms (plural),right???

so why (starts)???? should not  be start????

Hello,

You are absolutely right! I've changed the text so it now says 'term'. Thanks for pointing this out and please tell us if you see any other problems on the site.

Best wishes,

Adam

The LearnEnglish Team