Present Simple

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Beginning to intermediate level English learners can use thisHere is a quick to learn uses and examples of the present tense to speak about routines, facts, and opinions. Examples are provided for each use of the present simple, as well as the structure for positive, negative and questions. 

Listed below are uses with examples, and the structure of the present simple tense.

Permanent or long-lasting situations

Use the present simple to speak about everyday events that last over a long period of time.

These situations may change in the future, but they are true for a long period of time.

Where do you work?
The store opens at 9 o'clock.
She lives in New York.

Regular habits and daily routines

Use the present simple to speak about what you do every day. This includes your responsibilities at work or at school

I usually get up at 7 o'clock.
She doesn't often go to the cinema.
When do they usually have lunch?

Facts

Use the present simple to express facts about the world. These are statements that are always true about our world. 

The Earth revolves around the Sun.
What does 'strange' mean?
Water doesn't boil at 20 degrees.

Feelings

Use the present simple to speak about your feelings and what you like to do in general. 

I love walking around late at night during the summer.
She hates flying!
What do you like? I don't want to live in Texas.

Opinions and states of mind

Use the present simple to give your opinion or to discuss how you feel about someone or something.

 

He doesn't agree with you.
I think he is a wonderful student.
What do you consider your best accomplishment?

Timetables and schedules

Use the present simple to discuss schedules such as train departures and at the airport. 

The plane leaves at 4 p.m.
When do courses begin this semester?
The train doesn't arrive until 10.35.

Simple Present Time Expressions 

Use the following time expressions with the present simple. Many of these words are adverbs of frequency.

usually, always, often, sometimes, on Saturdays, on weekends, rarely, on occasion, never, seldom

Present Simple Structure

Here is a brief overview of how to use the present simple in sentence structure. Notice that the positive form takes no auxiliary verb

Positive

In the positive form add an 's' to the base form of the 3rd person singular. If the verb ends in -y preceded by a consonant, change the -y to -ies.

I, You, We, They -> eat lunch at noon.

He, She, It -> works well in any situation.

Negative

Conjugate the helping verb 'do' not (don't and doesn't) the base form of the verb to make negatives.

I, You, We, They -> don't enjoy opera.

He, She, It -> doesn't belong to the club.

Questions

Conjugate the helping verb 'do' (do or does) the base form of the verb in question forms.

Do -> I, you, we, they -> work in this town?

Does -> he, she, it -> live in this city?

Teachers can find tips on how to teach present simple which includes lesson plans and activities. You can test your understanding with this present simple quiz.

Complete each sentence using the correct form of the present simple for the verbs in parentheses.

State whether the sentence is used to express an opinion, feelings, a schedule, a routine, or a fact.

  1. She often _______ (go) to work by bus.
  2. When _______  the train ____________ (leave) for Seattle?
  3. He _____________ (not like) any kind of fish.
  4. It ____________ (rain) a lot in Washington State.
  5. Where _______ you ________ (work)? 
  6. My friends ___________ (hate) doing their homework. They're lazy!
  7. She _______ (not have to) get up early on Saturdays.
  8. The class _________ (meet) every Tuesday and Friday at nine o'clock. 
  9. I usually __________ (attend) the art class on Saturday mornings. 
  10. ______ Mary _______ (think) it's a good idea?

Answers

  1. goes - routine
  2. does the train leave - schedule
  3. doesn't like - feelings
  4. rains - facts
  5. do you work - routine
  6. hate - feelings
  7. doesn't have to - routine
  8. meets - schedule
  9. attend - routine
  1. Does Mary think - opinions