Present Simple (indicative)
The Present Simple Tense is used to talk about facts, things that happen regularly, to talk about present states and to give general opinions
- Present Simple - Introduction
- Forming the Present Simple
- Irregular Verbs in the Present Simple
- Common time expressions
Present Simple - Introduction
The Present Simple Tense is used to talk about facts, things that happen regularly, to talk about present states and to give general opinions.
I work at home.
Cats don't like dogs.
The cafè opens at 7.30am.
Paolo speaks Italian, English and French.
On Sundays, we always go swimming.
We can use the present simple to talk about how often we do something:
I go to the cinema every week.
I don't eat pasta often.
I drink a cup of coffee every morning.
In questions (the interrogative), the present is often introduced by a form of the verb "to do" (do / does).
Does your mother like cooking?
Do you live in Milan?
In negative statements, an appropriate form of the verb "to do" is used.
I do not (don't) work on Saturdays.
She does not (doesn't) like Jazz.
After the conjunctions "when," "as soon as," etc., the present tense is used, even if the sentence refers to actions in the future:
She'll come when she can.
I'll pay you as soon as you finish.
Actions in progress
We do not use the present simple to talk about things or events that are happening now. For this, we use the Present Continuous.
He is reading a book. (Not: He reads a book.)
I am cooking dinner. (Not: I cook dinner.)
Forming the simple present
In English, the present simple tense is generally regular in its conjugation.
As a general rule, the present simple uses the infinitive (without 'to'). The exception is for the third person singular.
Conjugation for the third person singular ('he', 'she', 'it')
If the verb ends with a consonant, we add '-s' to the end of the infinitive
If the verb ends with a vowel or with 'ch', we add '-es' to the end of the infinitive (Teach....He teaches)
If the verb ends with 'consonant + y' (for example, 'to try' or 'to cry') the 'y' is removed and we add '-ies' to the infinitive
he / she / it works
he / she / it goes
he / she / it watches
he / she cries
Irregular Verbs in the Present Simple
The only irregular verbs in the present simple are 'to have' and 'to be', plus the modal verbs.
he / she has
he / she is
Common time expressions used with the Present Simple
The words and expressions below are frequently used with the present simple. These words tell you what tense you have to use.
Adverbs of frequency:
Other common time expressions:
every day, every week, every year.. (etc)
once a week, twice a day.. (etc)
on Mondays, on Tuesdays.. (etc)
at the weekends..