the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English

How do we use the Present Simple Tense?

We use the Present Simple to talk about:

Present Simple for general time

We use the Present Simple tense when:

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:

Present Simple for now

For stative verbs, we can use the Present Simple to talk about now. Stative verbs do not describe action. They describe state, and are verbs such as: like, sound, belong to, need, seem. We can use these verbs with the Present Simple tense to talk about about a situation at the present time, not general.

I want a coffee.
That sounds interesting.
Do you need some help?
past present future
  The situation is now.  

Present Simple for general time and now

The verb be is always special. It is a stative verb, and we use it in the Present Simple tense to talk about now situations and about general situations. Look at these examples of the verb be in the Present Simple tense - some are general and some are now:

I am not fat.
Why are you so beautiful?
Ram is tall.
past present future
The situation is general. Past, present and future.
Am I right?
Tara is not at home.
We are hungry.
past present future
  The situation is now.  
This page shows the use of the Present Simple tense to talk about now and about general time. But note that there are 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.