Guideline For Using The Present Simple Tense

The present simple or simple present tense, as luck would have it, is pretty easy to understand. It’s one of 12 tenses in English designed to express how an action or state of being relates to time.

In this article, we will look at the rules of using the simple present tense, and as always, we will give you tons of examples along the way.

Simple present tense examples

The simple present tense is one of the first things you learn when studying tenses in English, and it has quite a few uses.

1. When talking about a daily activity or repeated situation. (habitual) We often add adverbs of frequency to give more context, such as "every day."

  • She drinks coffee every morning.
  • They work out every day.
  • We go to study every day in the library.
  • She goes to school.
  • We get up at 7 a.m.

2. When talking about something factual or considered a general truth.

  • A magnet attracts iron.
  • Trees help us to breathe.
  • The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.
  • 100 x 100 = 200 or one hundred times one hundred equals two hundred.
  • The earth is not a perfect sphere.

3. When talking about facts that are true for now.

  • She works in finance.
  • He studies Literature.
  • They like cooking.
  • Where do you live?
  • I don't like pineapple.

4. When giving or receiving instructions, instead of using the imperative.

  • Go left past the mall and then turn right.
  • Where is the nearest subway?
  • Stir the pot, then add a few flakes of salt.
  • Go and put on your shoes.
  • Put your name at the top of the page.

5. When telling stories or as a running commentary- common in informal spoken English.

  • I go to pay for my lunch, and the guy asks me to pay, but I don't have my card on me!
  • Messi goes for the ball, oh, and he misses!
  • He takes the racket and walks onto the tennis court.

6. In marketing and advertising, when trying to put the consumer or reader into a specific situation or to make them feel a certain way.

  • The summer breeze hits you.
  • We need you!
  • She sips the cool soda.

7. When talking about feelings, thoughts, etc., in a present situation. In this case, we can use stative verbs.

  • I don't like spicy food!
  • I think she's beautiful!
  • I don't like the summer heat; it's too humid!

8. When discussing fixed arrangements or plans that are unlikely to change.

  • My brother arrives tomorrow.
  • I have a meeting in the morning, but I'm free in the afternoon.
  • The train arrives at midnight.
  • Let's meet in the afternoon.

How Do We Make The Present Simple Tense?

There are three basic structures when forming the simple present tense.

Positive

The positive present simple tense is used for typical sentences. It's also referred to as 'affirmative.'

For positive present simple sentences, we choose a subject.

  • I am, or I'm
  • You are, or you're
  • We are, or we're
  • He is, or he's
  • She is, or she's
  • It is, or it's
  • They are, or they're

Then use the main verb and conjugate it by adding a -s suffix at the end, except for some subjects.

For example, let's take a look at the simple regular verb "to travel."

  • I travel
  • You travel
  • We travel
  • He travels
  • She travels
  • It travels
  • They travel

In some cases, verbs change in the present simple.

For example, now let's look at the verb "worry."

  • I worry
  • You worry
  • We worry
  • He worries
  • She worries
  • It worries
  • They worry

With the third-person singular, you will notice that we conjugate the verb by omitting the -y and adding -ies as the suffix. However, for verbs that contain an "ay," "ey," "oy," and "uy" at the end, we add an -s in the third-person singular, like in the case of buys.

We usually add an- es for verbs ending in -ss, -x, -ch, -sh, and -o.

  • Fox becomes foxes.

Some verbs also become irregular when used in the present simple. Such as,

  • Do is does
  • Have is has
  • Go is goes

Note: Some verbs are irregular, and some aren't. When you learn a new verb, it's worth checking whether it becomes irregular in the present simple before you use it!

Example sentences in the affirmative simple present form:

  • I worry about you.
  • My sister does the cleaning.
  • They sleep on the couch.

Negative

In the simple present, when forming a negative sentence, we add the auxiliary verb "do."

We then follow the same steps when forming a positive sentence by adding a subject followed by the conjugated "do."

  • I don't
  • You don't
  • We don't
  • He doesn't
  • She doesn't
  • It doesn't
  • They don't

Example sentences in the negative simple present form:

  • I don't know.
  • We don't own a car.
  • It doesn't look like the picture.

Interrogative

We can also form questions in the present simple using the auxiliary verb "do." In this case, the auxiliary verb is placed at the beginning of the sentence.

  • Do I….?
  • Do you…?
  • Do we….?
  • Does he…?
  • Does she…?
  • Does it…?
  • Do they…?

 Example sentences in the interrogative present simple form using "do."

  • Does she like traveling?
  • Does it look okay?
  • Do they want to come over for dinner?

To form "wh" questions in the present simple, such as "what, what, and why." You also use the auxiliary verb "do;" however, the "wh" begins the sentence.

  • Where do you live?
  • What is your name?
  • When does he arrive?
  • Why do you like…?

Do you want to learn more? Why not check out our other grammar-related material?

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