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Present Simple Tense

I sing

How do we make the Present Simple Tense?

subject + auxiliary verb + main verb
    do   base

There are three important exceptions:

  1. For positive sentences, we do not normally use the auxiliary.
  2. For the 3rd person singular (he, she, it), we add s to the main verb or es to the auxiliary.
  3. For the verb to be, we do not use an auxiliary, even for questions and negatives.

Look at these examples with the main verb like:

  subject auxiliary verb   main verb  
+ I, you, we, they   like coffee.
He, she, it   likes coffee.
- I, you, we, they do not like coffee.
He, she, it does not like coffee.
? Do I, you, we, they   like coffee?
Does he, she, it   like coffee?

Look at these examples with the main verb be. Notice that there is no auxiliary:

  subject main verb    
+ I am   French.
You, we, they are   French.
He, she, it is   French.
- I am not old.
You, we, they are not old.
He, she, it is not old.
? Am I   late?
Are you, we, they   late?
Is he, she, it   late?

How do we use the Present Simple Tense?

We use the present simple tense when:

  • the action is general
  • the action happens all the time, or habitually, in the past, present and future
  • the action is not only happening now
  • the statement is always true
John drives a taxi.
past present future

It is John's job to drive a taxi. He does it every day. Past, present and future.

Look at these examples:

  • I live in New York.
  • The Moon goes round the Earth.
  • John drives a taxi.
  • He does not drive a bus.
  • We meet every Thursday.
  • We do not work at night.
  • Do you play football?

Note that with the verb to be, we can also use the present simple tense for situations that are not general. We can use the present simple tense to talk about now. Look at these examples of the verb "to be" in the present simple tense - some of them are general, some of them are now:

Am I right?
Tara is not at home.
You are happy.
past present future

The situation is now.
 
I am not fat.
Why are you so beautiful?
Ram is tall.
past present future

The situation is general. Past, present and future.
This page shows the use of the present simple tense to talk about general events. But note that there are some other uses for the present simple tense, for example in conditional or if sentences, or to talk about the future. You will learn about those later.

Present Simple Quiz

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