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Present Simple – grammar

We use the present simple to talk about repeated actions or events, permanent states or things which are always true.

Forming sentences in Present Simple

The present tense is the base form of the verb:

work in Oxford. 

With the third person singular (she/he/it), we add an –s:

She works in Oxford.

We add – es if the word ends in –s, -ch or -sh

Examples:   pass -passes    watch – watches   finish – finishes

We add – ies if there is a consonant before the y

Examples: study – studies    carry – carries 

However, there are exceptions: play – plays   do – does    go – goes   have – has

AffirmativeInterrogativeNegative
I work in Oxford.Do I work in Oxford?I do not in Oxford.
You work in Oxford.Do you work in Oxford?You do not work in Oxford.
He works in Oxford.Does he work in Oxford?He does not work in Oxford.
She works in Oxford.Does she work in Oxford?She does not work in Oxford.
It works in Oxford.Does it work in Oxford?It does not work in Oxford.
We work in Oxford.Do we work in Oxford?We do not work in Oxford.
They work in OxfordDo they work in Oxford?They do not work in Oxford.

Contraction with Present Simple

When we use the Present Simple tense in speaking and informal writing, we often contract negative sentences like this:

I don’t work.We don’t work.
You don’t work.
He doesn’t work.They don’t work.
She doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work.

Using Present Simple

Use 1 Repeated Actions

We often use the Present Simple to talk about an action that is repetitive or usual. The action can be a habit, a scheduled event, or something that often happens.

Examples:

  • I ride horses.
  • He does not play football.
  • Do you drive?
  • Peter goes to school every day at 8 AM.
  • When does the bus usually leave?
  • Linda always forgets her keys.
  • We go on holiday every year.
  • I wake up everyday at 7 o’clock.

Use 2 Facts and generalizations

Present simple can also be used to talk about facts, about something the speaker believes is a fact or to make generalizations.

Examples:

  • Babies drink milk.
  • Many people do not like cats.
  • Windows are made of glass.
  • People like to live near the sea.

Use 3 Scheduled events in the near future

People can also use present simple to talk about scheduled events in the near future.

Examples:

  • The bus leaves at 6 AM.
  • The party starts at 10 o’clock.

Use 4 To talk about things that are happening now

Present simple can also be used to talk about things that are happening now, but this can only be done with non-continuous verbs (for example to be, to want, to cost, to seem, to need, to care, to contain, to owe, to exist, to possess, to own, to belong, to like, to love, to hate, to dislike, to fear etc.) and certain mixed verbs (for example to appear, to feel, to have, to hear, to look, to see etc.)

Examples:

  • He is not here now.
  • Robert needs help right now.
  • She has her handbag in her hands.
  • Do you have all your documents with you?
Present Simple tense

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