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Simple Present Tense
What Is the Simple Present Tense?The simple present tense is an English verb tense used to describe facts and habits, to describe scheduled events in the future, and to tell stories. Here are two easy examples of each usage:
(1) Simple present tense to describe facts and habits.
- Alan walks the dog every morning.
- He plays chess.
(2) Simple present tense to describe scheduled events in the future.
- The train arrives at 5 o'clock.
- The plane lands in 5 minutes.
(3) Simple present tense to tell stories (particularly jokes).
- Sarah crosses the road and asks the policeman for directions. (This use of the simple present tense is quite rare.)
- A horse walks into a bar, and the barman says, "why the long face?" (Compare to: A horse walked into a bar, and the barman said, "why the long face?")
Table of Contents
- More Examples of the Simple Present Tense
- Video Lesson
- Forming the Simple Present Tense
- The Spelling Rules
- Interactive Verb Conjugation Tables
- The Other Present Tenses
- Printable Test
More Examples of the Simple Present TenseThe simple present tense is used:
(1) To describe facts and habits:
- I like chocolate. (Fact)
- Angela runs a youth club full of glue-sniffers. (Fact)
- I ride horses in the summer. (Fact and habit)
- It always snows here in January. (Fact and habit)
- Dawn plays chess in the evenings. (Fact and habit)
This type of sentence, especially if it's describing a habit, will usually include a time expression like "always," "every year," "never," "often," "on Mondays," "rarely," "sometimes," or "usually."
(2) To describe scheduled events in the future
- The train arrives at 5 o'clock.
- It is low tide at 0234.
(3) To tell stories (particularly jokes) to make your listener or reader feel more engaged with the story.
- There are two parrots sitting on a perch. One turns to the other and asks, "Can you smell fish?"
- We heard the helicopter overhead. Suddenly, the radio bursts into life.
Forming the Simple Present TenseThe simple present tense is quite easy to form.
|First person singular||I run|
|Second person singular||You run|
|Third person singular||He/She/It runs|
|First person plural||We run|
|Second person plural||You run|
|Third person plural||They run|
The Negative VersionTo create a negative sentence, use "do not" + [base form of the verb]. (Use "does not" with third person singular (he / she / it).)
- I do not like chocolate.
- Angela does not run a youth club full of glue-sniffers.
- I do not ride horses in the summer.
- It does not always snow here in January.
- Dawn does not play chess in the evenings.
The Question VersionIf you need to ask a question, you can use the following word order for a yes/no question:
- Do you like chocolate?
- Does Angela run the youth club?
- Why does Tony talk so quickly?
- When do the farmers plant the corn?
- Does Mark sing or dance?
- Do they want hamburger or sausages?
The Spelling RulesFor regular verbs, just add s:
- talk > talks
- improve > improves
- guess > guesses
- mash > mashes
- fix > fixes
- go > goes
- fly > flies
- study > studies
Infographic for the Simple Present Tense
Top 10 Regular Verbs
Top 10 Irregular Verbs
All 4 Past Tenses
|Person||Simple Past||Past Progressive Tense||Past Perfect Tense||Past Perfect Progressive Tense|
The simple past tense is for a completed activity that happened in the past.
The past progressive tense is for an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
The past perfect tense is for emphasizing that an action was completed before another took place.
The past perfect progressive tense is for showing that an ongoing action in the past has ended.
All 4 Present Tenses
|Person||Simple Present||Present Progressive Tense||Present Perfect Tense||Present Perfect Progressive Tense|
The simple present tense is mostly for a fact or a habit.
The present progressive tense is for an ongoing action in the present.
The present perfect tense is for an action that began in the past. (Often, the action continues into the present.)
The present perfect progressive tense is for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present (or finished very recently).
All 4 Future Tenses
|Person||Simple Future||Future Progressive Tense||Future Perfect Tense||Future Perfect Progressive Tense|
The simple future tense is for an action that will occur in the future.
The future progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will occur in the future.
The future perfect tense is for an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
The future perfect progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future.
The Other Present TensesThe simple present tense is one of four present tenses. They are:
|The 4 Present Tenses||Example|
|simple present tense||I go|
|present progressive tense||I am going|
|present perfect tense||I have gone|
|present perfect progressive tense||I have been going|
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