Tenses are an integral part of the English language. In fact, they are the backbone of every sentence. That’s why using them correctly is extremely important. While there are many different types of tenses – the Present Simple Tense (also called the Simple Present Tense) is the most basic and commonly used tense in English grammar.
In this article, we’ll talk in length about the Present Simple Tense – what is it, where it is used, what are the rules to use it, and examples of Present Simple Tense to help you perfectly understand the concepts.
What is Present Simple Tense?
A present simple tense is a form of tense that is used to describe a habit, an unchanging situation, a repeated action, or a general truth. It uses the most basic form of the verb (or the ‘s’ form of the verb when used to describe the actions of a third person, like he or she).
Examples of present simple tense on the basis of the situation they describe include:
|Habit||I smoke.||He smokes.|
|Unchanging situation||I work in an office.||She works in an office|
|Repeated action||I go to work by bus.||He goes to work by bus.|
|General truth||The Sun sets in the West.|
What are the other tenses?
In English, there are three main verb tenses – Past tense, Present tense, and Future Tense.
Each of these tenses is further divided into four types:
- Perfect Continuous
The table below explains each of these tenses with examples:
|Present simple||Helps to describe habits, facts, actions, and truth that are not affected by time||Ist form of verb + s/es||He loves pizza.|
|Past simple||Helps to describe events that have happened in the past||IInd form of the verb||She wore a beautiful dress for the party.|
|Future simple||Helps to describe events that will happen in the future||Will/ shall + Ist form||He will go to New York tomorrow.|
|Present perfect||Helps to describe the relevance of past events in the present moment||Has/ have + IIIrd form of the verb||I have learned to ride a bike.|
|Past perfect||Helps to describe events that happened prior to other events in the past||Had + IIIrd form of the verb||She had finished the paper before leaving the hall.|
|Future perfect||Helps to describe events that will be completed between now and a specific point in the future||Will/ have + IIIrd form of the verb||She will have finished the book by tomorrow.|
|Present continuous||Helps to describe ongoing actions||Is/ am/ are + Ist form + ing||She is reading a book.|
|Past continuous||Helps to describe ongoing events of the past, mostly in relation to another event||Was/ were + Ist form + ing||He was driving to work when the accident happened.|
|Future continuous||Helps to describe future events that will/are expected to continue for a period of time||Will be + Ist form + ing||I will be going to meet my grandparents tomorrow.|
|Present perfect continuous||Helps to describe events that started in the past and will continue into the present||Has/ have been + Ist form + ing||She has been writing a book for the past one year.|
|Past perfect continuous||Helps to describe events that began, continued, and ended in the past||Had been + Ist form + ing||I had been working in this company for ten years when I got the promotion.|
|Future perfect continuous||Helps to describe events that began in the past but will continue until a point in the future||Will/ shall have been + Ist form + ing||I will have been doing business with her for one year.|
While these are all different types of tenses, the present simple, the past simple and the present perfect are the most commonly used.
How is it different?
Apart from the present simple tense, all other tenses describe events that have time significance –past, present, and future. Either they have happened in the past, are going to happen in the future, or have begun in the past and will continue for a period of time.
On the other hand, the present simple tense describes actions that are happening right now (as well as actions that happen regularly). As its name suggests, it is the simplest form of tense that’s both easy to understand and use.
- I like chocolate.
- I go to the office by bus.
- It snows in January.
- He loves traveling.
- Riya works in a supermarket.
- The plane lands in 10 minutes.
Structure of a simple present tense
The sentences with simple present tense are divided into four different types: positive sentence, negative sentence, interrogative sentence, and negative interrogative sentence.
The structure of each of these types is as follows:
|I/ he/ she/ they||Present Simple|
- I play tennis.
- She loves movies.
- He walks every day.
- I hate coffee.
In positive present simple sentences, we have only the subject and the main verb. However, when talking about the third person (singular), we conjugate the main verb by adding ‘s’.
|Subject||+||Auxiliary verb||+||Main verb|
|I/ he/ she/ they/ You||+||Do not/Don’t/Does not/Doesn’t||+||Verb in the base form/third person plural form|
- I don’t play tennis.
- She doesn’t like movies
- He does not walk every day.
- I do not like coffee.
In negative present simple sentences, an auxiliary verb (don’t, doesn’t, do not, does not) is added before the main verb. Also, the main verb is always in its base form, whether we are talking in the first person or in the third person singular.
|Auxiliary verb||+||Subject||+||Main verb|
|Do /Does||+||I/ he/ she/ they/ you||+||Verb in the base form/third person plural form|
- Do you play tennis?
- Does she like movies?
- Does he walk every day?
- Do I like coffee?
In interrogative sentences, we exchange auxiliary verbs with the subject, i.e., the auxiliary verb is written before the subject. Also, the main verb is always in its base form.
Negative interrogative sentence
|Auxiliary verb||+||Subject||+||Main verb|
|Don’t /Doesn’t||+||I/ he/ she/ they/ you||+||Verb in the base form/third person plural form|
- Don’t you play tennis?
- Doesn’t she like movies?
- Doesn’t he walk every day?
- Don’t you like coffee?
In negative interrogative sentences also, we exchange the auxiliary verb with the subject, i.e., the auxiliary verb is written before the subject. the main verb is written in its base form.
How to Use the Simple Present Tense
The simple present tense is used to express whether an action is taking place or not. You also use it to describe hobbies, habits, truths, repeated actions, facts, and scheduled events. Let’s look at each one of them one by one:
The simple present tense is used to describe habitual actions that are repeated on a daily basis or at regular intervals.
|I read the newspaper every morning.|
|We go to a picnic every Sunday.|
|He walks to his office.|
|She publishes the report every week.|
|Mona and I go shopping every weekend.|
|Do you go to school regularly?|
Facts or generalizations
The present simple tense is also used to describe scientific facts and general truth about people and things.
|She works in an office.|
|The Sun sets in the West.|
|Peter is a policeman.|
|Dyna understands English.|
|They speak English in the USA.|
|Dogs run faster than cats.|
We use present simple tense to describe fixed arrangements or events that are planned or scheduled to happen in the near future.
|My brother’s flight arrives in 5 minutes.|
|The party starts at 8 o’clock.|
|The movie starts in 5 minutes.|
|The library closes at 6 PM.|
|When does the class begin tomorrow?|
The simple present tense is used to describe habits too.
|He likes coffee.|
|She eats only vegetarian food.|
|He goes for a walk every day.|
|She never misses her yoga session.|
|He goes to work by bus.|
For giving directions or instructions
The simple present tense is also used while giving instructions or directions.
|Close the gate after you.|
|Take right for the mall.|
|Come to the office as soon as possible.|
|Do not make mistakes in the exam.|
For non-continuous verbs
The simple present tense is also used to describe non-continuous verbs. These are verb forms that cannot be used in present continuous or any other continuous tense form. That’s because their intrinsic meaning makes it difficult for them to be in a temporary situation.
Let’s understand this with an example:
- I am believing what you are saying.
Here believing is an opinion that cannot be temporary. This makes believing a non-continuous verb (i.e., it cannot be written in a Present Continuous form). It needs to be written in a Present Simple tense:
- I believe what you are saying.
Some other examples include:
- Incorrect: I am understanding you.
Correct: I understand you.
- Incorrect: He is liking to go for walk every morning.
Correct: He likes to go for walk every morning.
- Incorrect: Are you agreeing with what I say?
Correct: Do you agree with what I say?
Some non-continuous verbs include:
Grammar Rules for Present Simple
While understanding the present simple tense is quick and easy, there are certain rules that you must keep in mind in order to use the present simple tense accurately and effectively. That’s because your sentence would not make sense if the subject-verb agreement is missing. So, whenever you are using the present simple tense in your sentence, remember:
- To always use the verb in its base form when writing in first person:
- I do
- I make
- I like
- I live
- I drive
- To add ‘s’ to the main verb when writing in a third person
- He likes
- She does
- He makes
- He lives
- She drives
- To always use the main verb in the base form when writing in interrogatory and negative interrogatory style:
- Does she watch movies?
- Don’t you like pizza?
- Do you live in London?
- Don’t you have friends?
- To add ‘es’ to verbs that end in s, ss, sh, ch, x and o
- He guesses
- She mashes
- He fixes
- He goes
- To change the verbs ending with ‘y’ to ‘i’ and add ‘es’ (i.e., replace ‘y’ with ‘ies’)
- He studies
- Bird flies
- She parties
Examples of Simple Present and Present Simple
Let’s look at a few more examples to understand how to form sentences using the simple present tense (or the present simple tense):
Examples of present simple tense describing scientific facts and general truths
|Oil is good for hair.|
|The Sun sets in the West.|
|Water freezes into ice.|
|Oil floats on water.|
|New Delhi is the capital of India.|
|Dog has four legs.|
Examples of present simple tense describing habitual or repeated actions
|I drink tea every morning.|
|He goes to school at 8:00 AM.|
|My mother bakes a cake every Sunday.|
|Every Friday, we watch a new movie.|
|Diya practices yoga every day.|
Examples of Present Simple tense describing scheduled events
|The restaurant opens at 18:00 hours|
|Our winter break starts on 12th December.|
|The class begins at 9 o’clock in the morning.|
|The game starts at 12:00 PM.|
Examples of Present Simple describing future constructions
|Please let me know when Miya arrives.|
|Do meet me before you leave.|
|Rohan will call me once he reaches home.|
|Sam will come to my house for a night out.|
|School begins at eight tomorrow.|
Examples of Present Simple describing conditional uses
|If you need this book, do call me.|
|If it rains, the school remains closed.|
Examples of Present Simple Questions
|Where do you live?|
|Does Rita live in New York?|
|Did you go surfing?|
|Do you attend school regularly?|
|Did you have ice cream for dessert?|
Examples of Present Simple Negative Sentences
|I don’t speak French.|
|Paul doesn’t like fish.|
|She does not want to go to the party.|
|He is not as old as you think.|
That’s it. Here’s everything you need to know about the Present Simple Tense. Practice it and make your grammar and sentence construction accurate and strong.
- Present Simple
- The Present Simple Tense
- How to form the present simple tense
- Simple Present Tense–How It’s Used, With Examples
- Simple Present Tense – Learn Definition, Structure, Rules, Uses and Examples
- Simple present tense
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- Abstract Noun
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- Active Sentence
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