Present Simple

The present simple (or simple present) is an important element of the English language and one of the most important tenses. On this page, you have a complete overview of when to use this tense and how you form it.

Present simple (or simple present) tense

You use this tense when you want to talk about short simple actions and habits in the present. Below you can find an overview of different situations in which you use this tense.

To express a present state, how you feel at a particular moment in the present

  • I think my brother is happy.

Timeless truths

  • The sun rises in the east.

Habits in the present

  • I walk to school every day.

Timetables (also in the future)

  • My train leaves at 12 pm.

Short actions that happen after each other

  • He aims, shoots and kills the rat.

Instructions

  • Take your stuff and leave the room!
Present Simple - Use

How to form the present simple

Present simple positive

The present simple (or simple present) is the easiest tense because you just take the infinitive without <to>. There is only one exception, which is when you have a third-person singular form (he, she or it). When you have a third-person singular form, you add <s> to the infinitive.

I run
You run
He/she/it runs
We run
You run
They run

When you’re dealing with a verb that ends in a sibilant, you add <es> to the infinitive in the third person singular form.

  • He watches.

If <y> appears after a consonant at the end of an infinitive, <y> changes into <ies> in the third person singular form.

  • He carries.
Present Simple - Form

Present simple negative

If you want to make the negative form of the present simple, you need to use the auxiliary verb ‘to do’ + not + the infinitive of the main verb.

I do not run
You do not run
He/she/it does not run
We do not run
You do not run
They do not run

If you want to use ‘to be’ in the negative form, you conjugate ‘to be’ and put ‘not’ right after the verb.

I am not
You are not
He/she/it is not
We are not
You are not
They are not

Present simple questions

If you want to form a question in the present simple, you need to use the auxiliary ‘to do’, followed by the subject of the sentence and the infinitive of the main verb.

Do I work?
Do you work?
Does he/she/it work?
Do we work?
Do you work?
Do they work?

If you want to form a question with ‘to be’ in the present simple, you put the conjugated verb before the subject.

Am I?
Are you?
Is he/she/it?
Are we?
Are you?
Are they?

Time indicators

If you have one of these words in a sentence, it’s usually an indication that you are dealing with a present simple.

  • Always, every day, often, usually, never, sometimes

Examples

PositiveNegativeQuestion
I work
He sings
I am
I don’t work
He doesn’t sing
I am not
Do I work?
Does he sing?
Am I?

Exercises

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